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vs. It in- 
hows their 
(t is more, 

it helps to show to Americans the relation of 
those tragic and world-shaping events to the 
future political and economic life of the United 

For these reasons, so important for a country 
too slowly arousing itself to its need, the book is 
commended to citizens of the United States by 
The American Rights League, 

by the Executive Committee. 

By James M. Beck 

The Evidence in the Case 
The War and Humanity 

War and Humanity 

A Further Discussion of the Ethics of the 

World War and the Attitude and 

Duty of the United States 

James M. Beck 

Of the New York Bar 
Author of " The Evidence in the Case " 

" Methinks I see In my mind a noble 
and puissant nation, rousing herself, 
like a strong man after sleep, and 
shaking her invincible locks." 


G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 

XLbe 'Knickerbocfiet press 



Copyright, 19 i6 


Second Impression 

JOi MWi 

"Cbe *nicherbocFier prcsB, Hew Borli 


to whom my debt is infinite, 

This Book is Dedicated 


The success of The Evidence in the Case must be 
the author's justification, if any, in putting into 
this permanent form some of his contributions 
to the controversial history of the war. In a 
sense the book may be regarded as a sequel to 
The Evidence in the Case. 

The leading motif of that book was the moral 
obligation of nations to justify their acts in the 
forum of the general conscience of mankind, and 
as this volume deals with subsequent developments, 
which raise the same questions of moral responsi- 
bility in the Supreme Court of Civilization, the 
connection between the two books is obvious. 

"The Distress of Nations" deals with the world- 
old problem of war and peace and discusses some 
of the many suggested remedies and their obvious 

"The Submarine Controversy" discusses the 
limitations which the conscience of mankind has 
imposed upon belligerents in the exercise of force. 

"The Case of Edith Cavell" seeks to illustrate 

vi Introduction 

the rights of non-combatants by one of the most 
pitiful tragedies of the war. 

"The Foreign PoHcy of George Washington" 
considers one of the suggested reasons for the fail- 
ure of the United States to intervene in a more 
practical way in behalf of outraged humanity. 

"Where There Is No Vision" analyses the 
historic causes and psychological reasons for the 
neutrality of America and their bearing upon its 
future influence as a Master State of the world. 

"America and the Allies" seeks to acquit the 
American people of that complete indifference 
to the moral aspects of the war, which has been 
so erroneously attributed to them by foreign 

"The Vision of France" finally suggests the 
spirit in which France has met, and every nation 
should meet, the problems of the present crisis in 

All of these essays in their original form were 
public addresses, which the author made as his 
contribution to the public opinion of the time. 
The first was delivered at Toronto. The second 
at Boston on the anniversary of the sinking of 
the Lusitania. The third at Montreal at a Cavell 
memorial meeting. The fourth at Philadelphia 
on the birthday of Washington in 191 5. The 

Introduction vii 

fifth in London at a luncheon given in the 
author's honour by the Pilgrims' Society of Eng- 
land. The last was delivered in New York at a 
banquet given by the France-America Society in 
honour of M. Jusserand, the Ambassador of France 
to the United States. 

These addresses, with the exception of the last 
two, have been adapted by the author into the 
form of a literary essay and considerable material 
has been added. The last two addresses are 
printed as orally delivered because much of their 
force depended upon the spirit of the occasion, 
and while that spirit loses much in the printed 
page, yet it seemed desirable to keep the form of 
the spoken word rather than adapt it to the literary 
form of an essay. 

As these addresses contain severe reflections 
upon the present Administration at Washington, 
the publication of this book has been purposely 
delayed until after the Presidential election, in 
order to exclude the possibility in the reader's 
mind that any opinion that the author has ex- 
pressed is intended for mere political effect in the 
present Presidential campaign. 

To those who may suggest that the criticisms of 
the President are too severe, the author would 
reply that Republican institutions live by criticism 

viii Introduction 

and perish when thought is shackled. If the oil 
of anointing, which was once supposed to sanctify 
the head of the monarch and give him infalHbiUty, 
has also fallen upon the head of the President, 
then the author is much mistaken in the character 
of American institutions. 

The freedom of speech and of the press was 
intended to give to the public that opportunity 
for open discussion in which a Republican form of 
Government lives and moves and has its very 
being. Germany is today in an abyss of disaster 
because a rigid censorship of that, which Bismarck 
called "the reptile press," has blinded a great 
people and driven them into an abyss of disaster. 

Not only the future welfare of the Republic 
but the truth of history requires vigorous but 
fair criticism in such a sifting of the nations as 
is now in progress. If the President can at will 
chloroform the conscience of the American people 
with verbal anaesthetics and then claim to be 
immune from criticism, then there is little prospect 
that any sentiment can be developed which will 
enable the American Republic to be, as some of us 
reverently believe the God of Nations intended it 
to be, the foremost interpreter of the best ideals 
of humanity. 

No more stirring and pathetic story has been 

Introduction ix 

told in this war than that which tells of the French 
ofRcer, whose trench had been almost wholly 
destroyed by a destructive fire and who, with all 
his men, was either dead or wounded unto death. 
Silence reigned in the trench where seemingly 
none was left to defend, and the enemy troops 
charged across the open ground to take possession 
of it. Suddenly this officer, in a spirit of feverish 
ecstasy, arose to his feet and cried "Debout, les 
morts!" and to that clarion cry his wounded com- 
panions-in-arms responded by rising to their feet 
and in one last supreme effort hurled the invader 

The spirit of America is neither dead nor 
sleeping. But under our form of Government the 
people are powerless to move in their foreign re- 
lations, unless the Executive leads. That they 
lacked a true leader in this greatest moral crisis of 
civilization, was their infinite misfortune. Every 
one who loves America and who reaUzes the part 
which it could and should play in the great To- 
morrow, should by spoken word and printed speech 
do what in him lies to arouse the American spirit, 
a power which has never failed us in the past and 
which today, although for the time being stifled 
by a narrow, incompetent, and cowardly leadership, 
is still instinct with immortal life. 

X Introduction 

This will explain the quotation from Milton's 
A reopagitica on the title-page. To America there 
remains a splendid destiny in this war-ridden 
world. All that the great Republic, whose in- 
stincts are still sound, needs is a leader with such 
vision as Washington and Lincoln had. 

" Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puis- 
sant nation rousing herself like a strong man after 
sleep, and shaking her invincible locks. Methinks I 
see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth and 
kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam; 
purging and unsealing her long-abused eyesight at 
the fountain itself of heavenly radiance.'' 

James M. Beck. 

New York, November, 1916. 


I. — The "Distress of Nations" 

II. — The Submarine Controversy 

III. — The Case of Edith Cavell . 

IV. — The Foreign Policy of President 
Washington .... 





v.— "Where There Is No Vision" . 

VI. — America and the Allies 

VII. — The Vision of France 

Appendix I. — Dr. Zimmermann's Defence of 
the Execution of Edith 
Cavell 295 

" II. — Appeal of the Belgian Bishops 299 

" III. — Speech of Viscount Bryce . 316 



" upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity; the 
sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for 
fear and for looking after those things which are coming 
on the earth." — Luke xxi, 25, 26. 


" Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity; the sea 
and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and 
for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." 
Luke XXI, 25, 26. 

War is the most wondrous and ghastly pheno- 
menon of human Hfe. Through all the ages, it has 
been the supreme agony and travail of humanity. 
Old as the world, continuous as its history, the 
problem of a just and durable peace is as vital 
today and pressing for decision as when it was 
first said of old, " Cain, Cain, where is thy brother ? " 

Although over nineteen centuries have passed 
away since His coming, whom the suffrages of un- 
counted millions have given the exalted title of 
"Prince of Peace," yet peace on earth seems still 
as insubstantial as a rainbow, a bow of promise 
perhaps, but still only an evanescent, insubstantial 
rainbow, formed by the ever brightening rays of 
justice shining through the tears of human pity. 
Indeed, the great Teacher foresaw chat wars and 


4 The War and Humanity 

rumours of war would trouble men long after 
His coming. He predicted that such things 
"must first come to pass," for "nation shall rise 
against nation and kingdom against kingdom." 
He foretold that upon the earth there would 
be long after His advent "distress of nations 
with perplexity, . . . men's hearts failing them 
for fear and for looking after those things which 
are coming on the earth." 

His portentous prophecy has been fulfilled to the 
letter, and the history of the intervening centuries 
has been written in blood. The triumphal car of 
civilization has been a war chariot, rolling like 
that of Juggernaut over the innumerable necks of 
the slain. Down the vista of the centuries for 
ever marches that ghostly army, of which the 
Abb6 Perreyve wrote: 

Unseen by the corporal eyes, but too clearly 
visible to the mind's eye, the great army of the 
dead, the abandoned, the forgotten, the army of 
cruel tortures and prolonged infirmities, which 
pursues its fatal march behind what we call glory. 

If Nature did not mercifully remove the dead 
debris of war, as she consumes from year to year 
the dead leaves of autumn, no circle in Dante's 
Inferno would be comparable in horror to this 
blood-stained earth. Rarely, perhaps never, in 

The Distress of Nations 5 

two thousand years has the temple of Janus been 
completely closed. 

What is sadder still, the horrors of war, far 
from lessening with the progress of the centuries, 
seem only to increase in their frightful intensity 
as the sovereign reason of man multiplies his in- 
finite capacity for destruction. 

It is true that the code of war was, until the 
beginning of the present struggle, far more humane 
and enlightened in the twentieth century than 
in the first; and yet the twentieth century has 
witnessed a retrogression to primitive savagery in 
the disregard by one group of combatants of those 
humane principles, which had been evolved in 
modem times and which sought to restrict the 
horrors of war, so far as humanly possible, to 
combatants only. 

The sinking of the Lusitania was unthinkable at 
the beginning of the war. Today, it has become 
by repetition merely a commonplace of almost 
idle diplomatic controversy. Even if the code of 
war had still preserved the spirit of humanity, 
which had marked the natural progress of man- 
kind in the slow progress of the centuries, yet the 
horrors of war would still have been so greatly 
multiplied by man's mastery of nature and the 
infinite possibilities of chemistry as to far tran- 

6 The War and Humanity 

scend in horror all that has gone before. Civiliza- 
tion has been stupefied by the spectacle of whole- 
sale death inflicted with cataclysmic violence. 

Formerly, the maximum of military preparation 
was reached by an army of 700,000 men, the 
Grand Army of Napoleon. Today the combatants 
are numbered by the millions, and daily battles 
between armies equal in size to that mighty host, 
with which Napoleon crossed the Niemen, are 
dismissed with a brief paragraph in the daily 
communique. Formerly, the longest battle did 
not last a week. Today (September, 19 16), after 
two hundred days of continuous conflict day and 
night, a battle still rages at the eastern gateway of 
France, in which over nine hundred thousand men 
have been either killed, wounded, or captured, 
and which in its stupendous horror has never 
had a parallel since the world began. In five 
days Brousiloff captured more Austrians than 
Napoleon commanded men at Waterloo, and 
yet this crushing advance is dismissed by a half 
column in the daily press. In the sixteen princi- 
pal battles of the eighteenth century less men fell 
than have already fallen at Verdun, while the 
forty-six greatest battles of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, including Austerlitz, Borodino, Leipzig, 
Waterloo, and Gettysburg, reaped a smaller 

The Distress of Nations 7 

harvest of death than the admitted losses of Ger- 
many in the present war of men killed outright in 
action. For all this we have one great compensa- 
tion, that never in all the tide of time did the 
godlike heroism of man reach greater heights of 

The conditions of battle have likewise radically 
changed for the worse. The heavens above and 
the waters under the earth are now the battle- 
grounds for the nations. Men fight today as 
birds in the air, as fish in the sea, as moles in the 
ground, and they easily surpass all these lesser 
animals, for as Pegoud, the great French aviator, 
once said: "The birds do not know how to fly." 

Any one of the larger battleships, which recently 
took part in the titanic struggle off the coast of 
Denmark, could have put to flight with their 
modern armament the combined Spanish, French, 
and English fleets at Trafalgar like a hawk in a 
dovecote, and yet a single torpedo suffices to 
destroy in the twinkling of an eye one of these 
Leviathans of the deep. The " pomp, pride, and 
circumstance of glorious war" are gone, like Oth- 
ello's occupation. During the summer of 19 16 
the author was privileged to witness for three days 
the battle on the Somme as the guest of the 
British General Staff. Of the romantic glamour of 

8 The War and Humanity 

war he saw little, rarely hearing the roll of a drum, 
or seeing the waving of a flag. It was an industrial 
and mechanical war of stupendous dimensions. 
Thousands of men — each grimly doing his allotted 
task — were slowly blasting their adversaries out of 
seemingly impregnable positions. It was a veri- 
table Inferno, in which the infinite faculty of man 
to do all and endure all was exercised beyond the 
power of imagination to describe. 

The stupendous horror of this war is brought 
into greater relief when we recall the roseate 
dreams of perpetual peace that prevailed even on 
the eve of this titanic struggle. 

This is the time of a great disillusion. 

On the 23d of July, 19 14, the world was appar- 
ently living in a state of profound peace. Never 
before was the prospect of a durable peace 
seemingly greater. To some extent in all nations 
an insistent cry had gone up from the very souls 
of the people for a better method of determining 
international controversies. Many enlightened 
statesmen were confidently of opinion that the 
process of international arbitration would abolish 
war; and more than one European state had 
accepted the offer of the United States to execute 
an agreement to determine all differences of 
opinion by arbitration, although they might seem 

The Distress of Nations 9 

to involve in their nature even questions of 
national honour. 

The railroad, the steamship, and the telegraph 
had apparently interwoven men of all nations into 
a unity of purpose, understanding, and interest, 
which it was hoped had created a sentiment of 
human solidarity that would make impossible and 
unnecessary the appeal to force. ' ' The parliament 
of man and the federation of the world" seemed 
measurably in sight when the representatives of 
forty-four sovereign nations had twice met at the 
Hague and with a fair approach to unanimity 
had provided some machinery for the adjustment 
of international differences. 

The storm of human passions, which marked 
every preceding century, seemed to be abating, 
and in the skies even conservative thinkers thought 
that they perceived the bow of promise. Closer 
relations between the manual toilers of leading 
nations seemed to give a promise that those who 
bear the largest part of the physical burden of the 
world would ensure its peace. Far above the 
discordant cries, which in preceding centuries had 
marked frenzied and maddened nations, those of 
us, who tried to attune our souls to the symphony 
of universal progress, thought we heard the nobler 
strains of increasing fraternity and good will. As 

10 The War and Humanity 

all moral progress is a slow evolution, like that of 
physical nature, many believed that the organism 
of the universal state was being slowly but surely 
evolved, even though yet in a very rudimentary 
and embryonic form. 

This has been the dream of jurists and political 
philosophers in all time. It is not a modern con- 
ception. Indeed, when was it ever better stated 
than by the Spanish jurist, Juarez, who antedated 
Grotius, the so-called Father of International Law ? 
This learned and advanced thinker said: 

The foundation of the law of Nations lies in this, 
that the human race, though divided into various 
peoples and kingdoms, has always a certain unity, 
which is not merely the unity of species, but is also 
political and moral; as is shown by the natural 
precept of mutual love and pity, which extends to 
all peoples, however foreign they may be to one 
another, and whatever may be their character or 
constitution. From which it follows that although 
any state, whether a republic or a kingdom, may 
be a community complete in itself, it is nevertheless 
a member of that whole, which constitutes the 
human race; for such a community is never so 
completely self-sufficing but that it requires some 
mutual help and intercourse with others, sometimes 
for the sake of some benefit to be obtained, but 
sometimes, too, from the moral necessity and crav- 
ing, which are apparent from the very habits of 

The Distress of Nations n 

How modern is this lofty sentiment, spoken 
nearly four centuries ago, and yet how completely 
this generous conception of the solidarity of man- 
kind is now negatived by the present anarchy of 
civilization ! 

Nor did the economic conditions which prevailed 
in 1 9 14 suggest or cause this awful cataclysm. 

Nearly all the civilized nations were growing 
from day to day more prosperous in the peaceful 
rivalry of commerce, most of all that nation, the 
homicidal mania of whose ruling caste precipitated 
this world-war. This appalling conflict, unlike its 
predecessors, the Napoleonic wars, did not have its 
original source, as in the days of the French Revo- 
lution, in a half -starved and half -crazed people, 
who were suffering from intolerable wrongs. In 
those quiet days of the early summer of 1 9 14, 
universal peace seemed to "lie like a shaft of light 
across the land." 

To all these expressions of generous idealism 
there came at intervals a dissenting note. Those 
who doubted, whether from despair of humanity or 
from disbelief in the value of peace, most fre- 
quently quoted the elder Moltke, when he pessi- 
mistically and menacingly said : 

Peace is only a dream, and not even a beautiful 

12 The War and Humanity 

We know now that we were living in a fool's 
paradise. Mankind had made little, if any, 
advance towards peace, and could not, as long 
as there existed any powerful nation, which in 
its objects and policies believed in the supre- 
macy of might over right. We now know in the 
bitterness of our souls that the retrogression to 
barbarism involved in war depends not upon the 
ideals of the nobler nations but upon the moral 
concepts of the least moral of nations. The result 
has been the "distress of nations," of which the 
Master spoke, and not the "good will among 
men " which heralded His coming. The true mes- 
sage of the angelic song on the first of Christmas 
eves was, accurately translated, not "good will to 
men" but "peace to men of good will." Peace to 
the pacific was the promise, but even in this qualified 
form, two thousand years of almost uninterrupted 
warfare justifies the belief that the message was the 
statement of an ideal, not then or now a reality. 
As George Eliot said of justice — and justice and 
peace are morally synonymous, — justice "is not 
without us as a fact, it is within us as a great 
yearning." The peace of the pacific must depend 
to a large extent upon the changed attitude of 
the bellicose. The chain of peace can never be 
stronger than its weakest link, for while it takes 

The Distress of Nations 13 

two to make peace, it takes only one to make a 

History presents no more striking illustration 
of this discouraging fact than the present war, for 
nothing is clearer than that England, France, and 
Russia in 19 14 earnestly strove for peace almost 
to the point of self-effacement and national 
humiliation, and that all their efforts to maintain 
the peace of the world proved abortive because 
Germany had determined, unless the rest of Europe 
submissively accepted its will, to precipitate the 
war. Almost in the twinkling of an eye, the 
Prussian Samson threw down the fair temple of 
civilization. That temple is today as the noble 
Cathedral of Rheims. Its skeleton remains, but 
its noble carvings and glorious stained-glass win- 
dows are gone forever. Civilization must now re- 
construct its fallen temple as best it may, and the 
seemingly insoluble problem of such reconstruction 
is enough to appal the stoutest heart. 

It had been confidently believed that wars, 
with the disappearance of autocratic government 
and the rising power of democracy, would be 
impossible. Lord Cromer in a recent article took 
occasion to say that the spirit of democracy does 
not make for peace. Is this true? Speaking 
generally, the democracy of any nation, in which 

14 The War and Humanity 

public opinion is controlling, is ordinarily but not 
invariably averse to an aggressive war. Their 
emotions, rarely their interests, make them belli- 
cose. Indeed, in this is its weakness as a force for 
peace, for a democratic nation is generally unwilling 
to prepare for war, and its unpreparedness invites 
attack. France was not fully prepared in 19 14, Eng- 
land (except at sea) wholly unprepared. Had it 
been otherwise, Germany might never have at- 
tacked. Lack of preparation made England hesitate 
at the critical moment and this encouraged Germany 
to strike the sudden and treacherous blow. While 
a democracy, ordinarily pacific, may thus invite 
war, it does not ordinarily provoke one. 

This war was not caused by the democracy of 
any nation. It was a war primarily initiated by 
a few scheming and ambitious diplomats and 
rulers in Central Europe, and the peoples of the 
belligerent countries were given little time to 
consider the policy of war until the dread Rubicon 
had been hopelessly crossed. Certainly, the two 
great democracies of Europe, England and France, 
did not show any bellicose spirit in this crisis. 

The imminent peril to France of Germany's 
aggressive war left no alternative for that brave 
people ; and it is not surprising that with an una- 
nimity of sentiment which is beyond praise, the 

The Distress of Nations 15 

whole French nation rallied to their flag and have 
again vindicated, by superhuman courage and 
ability, their right to claim fellowship with the 
heroic States of universal history. 

Nor can anyone justly impute to the democracy 
of England in this crisis an impetuous, bellicose 
spirit. If it made any mistake it was that it did 
not at once align itself with Russia and France 
when the menace of Prussian aggression first 
became unmistakable. 

Germany had a great and militant democracy. 
It was the so-called socialistic party. Whatever 
may be its tenets as to internal government or eco- 
nomic theories, it represented in its ultimate aim 
the opposition to Kaiserism and militarism. Bis- 
marck tried to strangle it as a serpent because he 
saw how dangerous its growth would be to the 
Hohenzollern dynasty. The Kaiser before the 
war attempted to proscribe the socialists as polit- 
ical outcasts. Nevertheless, the socialistic party 
grew in Germany until at the outbreak of the war 
it numbered over 4,000,000 of voters and was the 
largest single political body in Germany, possessing 
however no real governmental power in proportion 
to its numbers, for Germany's electoral system is 
a travesty on a government "by the people." 

How then did this militant body of intellectual 

i6 The War and Humanity 

socialists act when their country initiated this 
wanton struggle of aggression ? 

Its leading organ was Vorwaerts, and it had no 
illusions as to the nature of the struggle. Thus, 
on July 25th, two days after Austria's ultimatum 
to Servia, it editorially said that the "war fury, 
unrestrained by Austrian imperialism, is setting 
out to bring death and destruction to the whole 
of Europe." It condemned the provocation of 
the Austro-Hungarian Government and added 
that its demands upon Servia "are more brutal 
than have ever been put to an independent state 
in the world's history, and can only be intended 
deliberately to provoke war." 

On July 29th it denounced the refusal of the 
German Foreign Office to accept England's 
proposition for mediation, and said that such 
refusal placed upon the German Government 
"the most awful responsibility before its own 
people, before the foreign nations, and before the 
forum of the world's history." It accurately 
diagnosed the origin of the war by stating "that 
the indications proved beyond doubt that the 
camarilla of war lords is working with absolutely 
unscrupulous means ... to carry out their fear- 
ful designs to precipitate an international war, and 
to start a world-wide fire to devastate Europe." 

The Distress of Nations 17 

Even after the declaration of martial law and 
partial mobilization, Vorwaerts on July 31st 
justified Russia in refusing to turn Servia over to 
Austria and again denounced the action of its 
own Government as "utterly without conscience." 

No critic of Germany's policy has ever been more 
vigorous in its denunciation than the expressions I 
have quoted. 

On July 29th, twenty-eight social democratic 
mass meetings were held in Berlin alone to de- 
nounce the war, and one of these is said to have 
been attended by 70,000 men. 

The disappointing sequel must now be noted. 
On August 4th, nearly all of the members of the 
socialistic party, with the exception of about fifteen, 
completely wheeled about by voting for the first 
war credit and suddenly became partisans of the 
war. On the second war credit, voted on Decem- 
ber 2d, the former leader of the socialists, Dr. Karl 
Liebknecht, alone voted "No," and in so doing 
publicly denounced the war and especially the 
violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxem- 
burg. Since then, at every debate in the Reich- 
stag, Liebknecht has consistently attempted to 
bring the truth to the attention of the German 

It is not surprising that this brave leader of the 

1 8 The War and Humanity 

people is now under arrest on a charge of treason. 
When the records of this great war come to be 
written, the moral heroism of no one of any nation 
will shine more resplendently than that of Karl 
Liebknecht. He has in truth been among, if not 
the, "bravest of the brave." His voice, however, 
has been only as one crying in the wilderness. No 
one can question that the great mass of the Ger- 
man people, including the socialists, who at first 
denounced the war as an unspeakable crime, have 
since been swept away by racial hatred and have 
as yet exercised no appreciable influence for peace. 
It must be said in candour that the average 
man of any country would probably do the same, 
for in times of excitement and passion, a democracy 
does not ordinarily prevent war. As long as unjust 
wars can at times be initiated by a limited group 
of responsible statesmen, the dependence upon 
democracy to prevent war cannot be very con- 
siderable, especially in countries where public 
opinion can be strangled even in times of peace 
and where popular government is more of a delu- 
sion than a reality. It is not reasonable to expect 
the moderating force of a democracy in a country 
where, as in Germany, a censored press can sub- 
stitute any delusion for the truth. The German 
socialists probably accepted in the early days of 

The Distress of Nations 19 

August, 1914, the inspired fiction of a wanton 
Russian attack, just as today many believe that 
Germany won a strategic victory at the Mame. , 
>' It was thought, at the beginning of this war, 
that the advance of civiHzation had increased the 
brotherhood of man by facilitating the communi- 
cation of ideas and by making men of different 
nations and races better acquainted. When a 
man can talk by wireless telephone from Washing- 
ton to Paris and be overheard by an eavesdropper 
in Honolulu, the world, for the purpose of inter- 
communication, is little more than a pin point; 
and if all that were needed for the preservation of 
peace was to enable men to communicate quickly 
with each other, the end of war as a problem 
would be in sight. 

Unfortunately the increased intercommunica- 
tion of men and their ability to come into closest 
contact in commerce and social life also brings 
with it the possibility of increased friction, 
especially in an age as neurotic as ours, where 
thoughts and impulses seem to be on a very 
hair trigger. A complex age is as uncertain as 
a sensitively organized individual. 

Had the Austro-Servian dispute been developed 
in other times, when intercommunication was less 
easy, there would at least have been a cooling 

20 The War and Humanity 

time and there might never have been any war. 
But with the swift communication of the tele- 
graph and cable, the diplomatic wrangle, which 
preceded the war, was practically as though the 
Czar, the Kaiser, King George, Sazanoff, Count 
Berchtold, Von Bethmann-HoUweg, Viviani, and 
Sir Edward Grey were in one room. And when 
men quarrel face to face and not at a discreet 
distance, we know how quickly the passions rise 
and how rapidly a quarrel may pass through all the 
stages referred to by Touchstone in As You Like It. 
This is precisely what happened in 1 9 14. With 
the world in a state of profound peace on July 
23d, there was within a week an exchange of rapid- 
fire telegrams between rulers and statesmen, and 
in the twinkling of an eye the world found itself 
wrapped in a universal flame because one group of 
disputants had resolved to impose its will on the 
other nations or have recourse to war. 

In this respect, the outlook for a millennial age of 
peace is blacker than ever before, for not only is the 
world now become a seething cauldron of hatred, 
but at least for a half century these hatreds 
will persist. This is not a trivial quarrel, which 
can be adjusted with mutual good -will. Its 
wounds are too deep. Never were they deeper. 
Over ravaged fields, desolated homes, and new- 

The Distress of Nations 21 

made graves the men of the two groups of nations 
will gaze at each other for at least another gen- 
eration with irreconcilable hatred. How then can 
their closer contact make for peace? 

When the limited methods of locomotion and 
intercommunication hemmed each nation into a 
well-marked and detached territory, there was less 
friction because less contact, whereas today the 
facilities of intercommunication have undoubtedly 
developed a social friction which, being accen- 
tuated by pressing commercial rivalry, result in 
combustible material which any powerful pyro- 
maniac can set aflame. 

Some have believed that the increased facilities 
of intelligence would necessarily promote a higher 
morality, which in itself would be an effective 
check upon war. This was the view of Lord 
Haldane and was expanded by him in his nota- 
ble address at Montreal in 1913 to the Ameri- 
can Bar Association into a profound and noble 
oration. He spoke of a higher law, which had 
its sanction and effective power in conscience 
and to which he gave the German name "sittlich- 
keit.'' He quoted Prof. Jhering of Gottingen in 
saying that it was the merit of the German lan- 
guage to have been the only one to find a really 
distinctive and scientific expression for this higher 

22 The War and Humanity 

morality of man. It seems a pity that if the 
pecuHar genius of the German language alone 
could coin the expression, the same genius could 
not have applied the principles oiJ'siUlichkeW* 
to Germany's conduct of the war. 

" Sittlichkeit/' as defined by Lord Haldane, was 
that system of habitual or customary conduct, 
ethical rather than legal, which embraces all of 
those obligations of the citizens which it is bad 
form to disregard, or, as defined by Fichte, it is 
those principles of conduct which arise out of the 
"hidden and uniform ground of action which we 
assume to be present in the man, whose action is 
not deflected and from which we can certainly 
predict what he will do." 

In other words, translating Fichte's ponderous 
philosophizing into plain English, "sittlichkeit" is 
character — an ethical habit which arises not so 
much from conscious volition in the individual 
as from the instinctive promptings of the inner 

If the mere increase of intelligence promoted a 
higher character of "sittlichkeit/' as thus defined, 
we would naturally have expected that Germany, 
as the most systematically instructed and in some 
respects profoundly learned nation in the world, 
would in this war, not merely have conformed to 

The Distress of Nations 23 

those existing usages, which a more humane civili- 
zation had laboriously developed, but would 
have even surpassed its opponents in the obser- 
vance of the higher chivalry. "SittlichkeW has 
chiefly served to corrupt the intellectual integrity 
of the foremost scholars and philosophers of Ger- 
many in leading them to condone offences that 
are beyond condonation. 

The trouble with "sittUchkeW as a remedy for 
war is the different conceptions of " sittlichkeW* 
which prevail in different nations. Indeed, the same 
nation may have a different kind of " sittlichkeW 
for different occasions. Turkey's " sittlichkeit^* 
towards Armenia is very different from its martial 
methods towards France and England, for I have 
heard many English officers testify that "the Turk 
fights Hke a gentleman." 

When the war is over and the so-called processes 
of peace begin, I have little confidence that 
through any intellectual process Prussian mili- 
tarists can ever be persuaded that any act of theirs 
in the present war was not in accord with the 
higher ''sittlichkeU." In this respect Prussian 
psychology has been a revelation to the world. 
To sink a Lusitania, shoot an Edith Cavell, and 
commit a new wholesale " rape of the Sabines," 
as at Lille, seems to these military martinets so 

24 The War and Humanity 

natural that they cannot understand the indigna- 
tion of the world. The German theorist is the 
"wisest fool in civilization." 

This suggests one of the most interesting and 
important questions which the problem of the 
coming peace will present. 

What is to be done with the responsible rulers, 
statesmen, generals, and admirals who have in 
this war violated the proprieties of civilization and 
the rules of warfare ? 

In other wars, where the chivalry of battle has 
been reasonably observed, there has been in the 
attitude Qf the victor to the vanquished a fine 
magnanimity m the hour of victory. Washing- 
ton refused to accept the sword of Comwallis and 
Grant returned that of Lee to the great Southern 
chieftain and insisted that his impoverished 
Southern soldiers should have their horses to 
enable them to till their farms. When George 
Washington died only a few years after the close 
of the Revolution, the flags of English warships 
were put at half mast, and no finer tributes were 
paid to the great soldier than those that came from 

Shall Count Berchtold, who gave solemn assur- 
ances to Europe of a most conciliatory treat- 
ment of Servia and then issued the most brutal 

The Distress of Nations 25 

ultimatum known to history, escape some pun- 
ishment ? 

Shall von Tirpitz, who initiated the war on non- 
combatants and at whose order the Lusitania 
was sunk, be hereafter regarded among those 
honourably vanquished? 

Shall Zauberschweig who ordered, and von 
Bissing who permitted, Edith Cavell to be shot 
in the watches of the night after their subordinates 
had given a solemn assurance to the represen- 
tative of the United States that it would be 
advised before any action was taken, be treated 
in defeat as honourable soldiers? 

Shall those Prussian generals, who marched 
Belgian women and children before their soldiers, 
ruthlessly shot innocent hostages, condemned 
thousands of French women at Lille to degrading 
peonage, and tried to coerce an unoffending nation 
by the unspeakable policy of frightfulness, be 
allowed to go "un whipped of justice"? 

Shall the Kaiser, who outraged the fundamental 
principles of civilization by violating, in the very 
teeth of his country's pledges, the neutrality of Bel- 
gium, be hereafter regarded as worthy of the respect 
due to the honourable ruler of a great people ? 

America, in solving the problems of corporate 
misrule, found that it was necessary to go behind 

26 The War and Humanity 

the fiction of the corporation and, by regarding 
guilt as personal, visit the condemnation of the law 
upon individuals who committed wrongs in the 
name of a corporation. The salutary effect of this 
policy was immediate and manifest. 

When in this crisis civilization proceeds to judg- 
ment, shall not the Supreme Court of Civiliza- 
tion sit as one of criminal assize and, if so, what 
punishment shall be inflicted upon these be- 
ribboned and much decorated criminals who have 
brought upon the world this unspeakable tragedy ? 

Will the fact that they may hereafter be visited 
with the execration of the wise and good of every 
nation, including their own people, be sufficient 
punishment ? 

Perhaps the last question answers the preceding 
questions, but I cannot think so. May it not be 
the imperative duty of civilization to make it a 
dangerous pastime hereafter for scheming di- 
plomats and ambitious soldiers to set the world 
on fire? 

The moral problem, however, is not as easy as 
the preceding questions would indicate. It must, 
however, be met, for on the occasion of the author's 
recent visit to France and England, he was deeply 
impressed with the fact that the publicists of both 
countries were very earnestly discussing the 

The Distress of Nations 27 

question whether any terms of peace could be 
accepted from their enemies, which did not carry 
with them the right to exact suitable reparation 
from those enemy belligerents who have grossly 
violated the rules of war and the proprieties of 
civilized life. 

The assassination of Captain Fryatt and, above 
all, the callous and cruel deportation of the women 
of Lille and other French cities occupied by the 
Germans, to work in the fields under Prussian 
bayonets, have proved the last straws, which are 
said to break even camels' backs. Public opinion 
has grown in this matter to such a pitch of in- 
tensity that Mr. Asquith felt moved to announce 
on the floor of Parliament, as a pledge to his 
infuriated nation, that at the proper time a repara- 
tion would be exacted other than the ordinary 
terms of peace. 

In reply to a request of the London Daily 
Telegraph for an expression of my opinion in this 
matter, I made the following statement in its 
issue of August 19, 1916: 

The post-bellum punishment of atrocities pre- 
sents another and very difficult problem. That they 
call aloud for summary reparation cannot be 
questioned by any just or sane man. But the 
punishment of individuals after a treaty of peace, 

28 The War and Humanity 

unless inflicted upon the clearest cause and under 
circumstances that exclude the possibility of the 
spirit of vindictive revenge, has this danger — that 
it sets a precedent which, if followed in future wars, 
may turn civilization into an unending vendetta. 
While this is true, the majesty of international law, 
which hitherto has mitigated the horrors of war, 
would be greatly impaired if the outrageous viola- 
tions of the rules of war were condoned. In America 
we had a somewhat analogous problem in the mis- 
government of our corporations. We found that 
men who, as individuals, were incapable of dis- 
honesty, were yet indiflerent to the dishonest 
practices of corporations with which they were 
connected, and of which they were beneficiaries. 
To punish the corporate entity did not meet the 
evil, and as a result the principle was established 
that in such cases guilt was personal, and that the 
sins of the corporations could be criminally visited 
upon those of its officers who were responsible for 
them, and who sought to mask themselves behind 
an artificial legal abstraction. 

It is not surprising that many thoughtful and 
just men are asking whether this principle of 
personal guilt should not be visited upon the 
oppressive acts of ruthless soldiers who acted for a 
nation. But the task of ascertaining the principles 
of such criminal liability and the facts in each case 
in a stupendous war of this character seems to me 
to present appalling difficulties. I venture the 
suggestion that, when the war is ended, the Allied 
nations should select five distinguished jurists, and 
that four neutral nations — say. Holland, Switzer- 
land, Spain, and the United States — should each be 

The Distress of Nations 29 

asked to name a jurist, and that the body thus 
formed should consider primarily what offences of 
the Central Powers are of such a heinous character 
as to justify post-bellum punitive action against 
the individuals, and under what circumstances and 
in what manner such punitive measures could be 
taken. These principles should be as generous as 
possible to the vanquished and should be consistent 
with the highest interests of civilization, which 
imperatively require that the spirit of generosity to 
the vanquished, as individuals, should be observed, 
lest civilization should retrograde to the barbarity 
of those former ages when the vanquished were 
pitilessly punished. Lincoln's immortal phrase, 
"with malice towards none and with charity for 
all," may well be remembered in this connection. 
No instance in the war more strikingly raises the 
question thus indicated than the sinking of the 
Lusitania, which was a deliberate and wanton 
sacrifice of non-combatants, and especially of 
women and children. To condone this would be a 
lasting mischief to the best interests of human 
society, and the responsibility of what we call in 
America "the man higher up" is in this case 
perfectly clear. 

These are suggestions, and by no means conclu- 
sions, for the whole question seems to me to be one 
of the most perplexing that was ever offered to the 
publicists and jurists of the world. All that I 
intended to note was the growing feeling, which I 
have observed both in England and France, that 
this great question shall be decided in favour of 
punitive action; the tendency is unmistakable, and 
it seems to me most important that the publicists 

30 The War and Humanity 

and jurists of the world should give prompt and 
careful consideration to the great moral problem 

In further explanation of my meaning, I may 
add that I did not ignore the possibility that the 
Governments of Holland, Switzerland, Spain, and 
the United States would probably be disinclined 
to be represented in such an international criminal 
tribunal, but this difficulty could readily be 
overcome, in the event of a refusal of those 
Governments to participate officially, by the 
Allies inviting, from each of the four nations 
in question or from other neutral nations, a 
distinguished jurist. 

It will be noted that my suggestion contemplates 
that the Allied nations should have a majority of 
the tribunal and this for the obvious reason that 
the matter is primarily their concern, for when the 
Allies successfully conclude the war, with such an 
infinite sacrifice of life and treasure, it should and 
will be their right to determine for themselves and 
in their own way the manner and character of the 
peace. Neutral nations have for many reasons 
refused to participate in that which was in its 
essence a civil war of civilization. This non- 
participation may in many cases be justified and 
in all cases is not without some explanation; but 

The Distress of Nations 31 

the failure to participate makes it unwise that any 
neutral nation should intervene, either during the 
war or after its close, to suggest, much less dictate, 
the nature of the peace. It will do no possible 
good. It may do infinite harm. 

For this reason, any international tribunal, 
which determines the exceedingly difficult moral 
question which I am discussing, should control the 
decision, as such decision would necessarily be a 
part of any terms of peace. 

The advantage of having neutral judges on 
such a tribunal is that it would give great moral 
weight to any decision that might be reached. 
Remembering that the whole conscience of 
civilization opposes punitive action against in- 
dividuals, except under circumstances that impera- 
tively require it, it is not likely that a majority 
of the proposed tribunal would recommend any 
specific action, if two or more neutral judges 
were in doubt as to its wisdom and justice. 
Certainly the concurrence of the neutral judges 
in any course that might be adopted would go 
far to commend such punitive action to the 
conscience of mankind. 

As illustrating the best British sentiment on this 
question, I may quote the editorial comment of 
the Telegraph upon my interview: 

32 The War and Humanity 

Obviously we are here face to face with a problem 
of great magnitude as well as complexity. When 
we have to deal with malefactors such as those who 
are responsible for the sinking of the Lusitania and 
the murders of Sister Cavell and Captain Fryatt, 
the natural human impulse is to demand the 
severest punishment which it is in our power to 
inflict. The feeling of bitter and unquenchable 
indignation is so strong in this country that we have 
already heard the Prime Minister stating in the 
most explicit terms in the House of Commons the 
determination of the British Government to act in 
conjunction with our Allies in exacting the severest 
penalty. The form of penalty is, of course, another 
matter, and here there is room for wide diversity of 
opinion. We take it, however, that the British 
nation as a whole has made up its mind on the main 
point, and that nothing will alter its fixed deter- 
mination. In a certain sense we do not hesitate to 
consider ourselves the champions of a high moral 
law which has been outraged. European civiliza- 
tion and future peace would alike be impossible if 
it were once conceded that crimes of this magnitude 
and atrocity were allowed to go unpunished. "But 
the punishment of individuals," says Mr. Beck, 
"unless inflicted upon the clearest cause and under 
circumstances that exclude the spirit of vindictive 
revenge, sets a precedent which, if followed in 
future wars, may turn civilization into an unending 
vendetta." That is very true, and we certainly 
should not lose sight of this point. Men who claim 
to vindicate the majesty of morality and law must 
act in the spirit of their claim, and must not be 
savage executioners or perpetuate bad examples. 

The Distress of Nations 33 

How, then, are we to see our way clear between these 
two opposite principles — reparation for cruel in- 
juries and avoidance of purely vindictive vengeance ? 
Here Mr. Beck's suggestion is very interesting and 

We do not know how far it would be possible to 
create such a body of lawyers, or whether, indeed, 
it would be wise to leave the issue to lawyers alone 
without including both statesmen and soldiers. 
But the value of Mr. Beck's contribution to the 
subject lies in the fact that he sees clearly the two 
contrasted policies between which in some fashion or 
other we have to steer our way. We must not allow 
the guilty to escape; but we must not be bitter in 
our revenge. So far as we know anything about our 
countrymen, they certainly are not vindictive by 
nature. They are more likely to err by leniency 
than by a pitiless severity. Perhaps for this very 
reason it is the more necessary to lay down in the 
clearest possible fashion, and, indeed, to bring the 
whole world to witness, that we intend to exact full 
and complete reparation. We shall not depart from 
Lincoln's principles — "with malice towards none 
and with charity for all." But there come crises 
in history when a condonation of past offences is 
nothing more nor less than moral weakness, and 
when inefficiency in exacting punishment becomes a 
serious offence against the great laws which guide 
all human intercourse. 

Undoubtedly the development of means of de- 
struction serves to some extent to prevent war and 
it is probably true that the war would have been 

34 The War and Humanity" 

precipitated long since by Prussia but for the 
appalling possibilities of such a struggle, which 
caused even the callous Prussian militarists to 
pause. Prince Bismarck once stated that the 
next war between France and Germany would be 
of exceptional ferocity, and, fittingly borrowing a 
figure from the shambles, he said that on the part 
of the victor it would be a case of "bleeding 
white." This ghastly metaphor relates to the 
habit of butchers drawing the last drop of blood 
from certain kinds of cattle to make their flesh 

The world has since realized this cold-blooded 
prediction of Bismarck, made in confident assur- 
ance that it would be France which would be "bled 
white " under the butcher's knife. If the full hor- 
rors of this war had been realized by the states- 
men and soldiers of Vienna and Beriin in July, 19 14, 
and especially how great a part of such suffering 
their nations would sustain, it is doubtful whether 
they would have set on fire the stately fabric of 

The world has learned the most awful lesson in 
its experience and it is probable that wars in future 
will not be lightly entered into in view of such 
appalling consequences. But the preservation of 
a peace that is based upon fear cannot be either 

The Distress of Nations 35 

durable or just, for such a peace would generally 
mean the acquiescence of weaker powers in the 
demands, often unjust, of stronger powers. 

Before the war, it was believed that the greatest 
panacea for the admitted evil of war was inter- 
national arbitration. Enlightened statesmen had 
faith in it, which in the light of recent events has 
proved to be somewhat misplaced. Undoubtedly 
between nations which are reasonably pacific in 
their purposes and desire nothing that is not just, 
international arbitration is an effective method of 
adjusting disputes. But it can have no efficacy 
where one of two contending nations or groups of 
nations has no desire to be just. No individual or 
nation will ever arbitrate a question where he or it 
realizes that the antagonist is attempting to inflict 
upon him a wanton and deliberate wrong. 

The great truth of this war, and the great limita- 
tion of the policy of international arbitration, is 
that war is not the worst evil that can befall men. 
Injustice is infinitely worse. Not every peace is, 
therefore, preferable to war. There can be peace 
with dishonour; and multipHed death is better 
than multiplied disgrace. Would it not be in- 
finitely better that civilization should perish alto- 
gether rather than have injustice permanently 
enthroned through force ? 

36 The War and Humanity 

Great as has been the evil of the love of war — and 
it has immeasurably cursed humanity and retarded 
its progress — yet it were infinitely worse if the 
abject fear of war should become the shield of 
injustice. While the goal of humanity should 
ever be justice through peace — and to make its 
path straight and smooth, mutual respect and fair 
dealing between nation and nation should ever 
be assiduously cultivated — yet if both are not 
immediately attainable, it is infinitely better to 
have justice through war than injustice through 
peace, for a peace, which deliberately sacrifices 
justice in a spirit of cowardice and enthrones 
wanton wrong, retards progress, and sins against 
the conscience of mankind. Of the policy of non- 
intervention under any circumstances, Ruskin has 
finely said that it "is as selfish and cruel as the 
worst frenzy of conquest, and differs from it only 
in being not only malignant but dastardly." In 
this saying of possibly the noblest ethical teacher 
of our age extreme American pacifists could 
profitably take a lesson. 

Even the most sanguine advocate of inter- 
national arbitration must distinguish between 
justiciable and non-justiciable causes and admit 
that the latter are beyond the scope of the remedy. 
Justiciable questions are generally those of a 

The Distress of Nations 37 

minor character about which nations would not 
in any event go to war; while the non-justiciable 
questions are those as to which international 
arbitration is generally impotent to prevent a 
conflict. Thus, the great' historic policies of 
nations or the instinctive movements of races, 
slow and resistless as glaciers, could as little be 
checked by international agreement as the people 
of Chamouni could stay the onward course of the 
Mer de Glace. 

Everyone should recognize the fact that inter- 
national arbitration is of value in providing the 
procedure of peace, when and only when questions 
which admit of reasonable argument arise between 
nations and the disputants are equally desirous 
of ascertaining the justice of the issue. Lord 
Russell of Killowen, in an address which he made 
at the American Bar Association at Saratoga in 
1896, after referring to the many instances of suc- 
cessful international arbitration in the nineteenth 
century, which then numbered nearly seventy- 
five, thus well defined the instances where such 
arbitration is a practicable remedy: 

First, where the right in dispute depends upon 
the ascertainment of facts honestly in dispute; 
second, where, the facts being ascertained, the 
right depends upon the application of some 

38 The War and Humanity 

tangible principle of international law; third, 
where the dispute is one which may properly be 
adjusted by mutual concessions which do not 
involve vital interests or national honour. 

No one will question the value of the remedy in 
such controversies; but it is in this very class of 
cases that the normal nation would in any event 
be indisposed to appeal to war. In such instances, 
the mediation of a mutually friendly power has 
proven as effective as a formal arbitration and is 
often much more readily resorted to. 

The final suggestion of a league to enforce 
peace is the latest remedy for war and the one that 
is at the present time most prominently engaging 
the thoughts of enlightened citizens of different 
countries. It has had warm support both in 
England and the United States and undoubtedly 
has much to commend it. Its essential idea is that 
civilized nations shall by a league compel the 
resort to arbitration in all justiciable controversies. 

The idea, like every idea connected with the 
world-old problem of war and peace, has little 
novelty. The idea of arbitration is at least as old 
as the Greek Republics. According to Thucydides, 
the King of Sparta pronounced all war unlaw- 
ful if the attacked were willing "to answer for 
his acts before a tribunal of arbiters." Even 

The Distress of Nations 39 

formal agreements to arbitrate are of very ancient 
origin, for Argos and Lacedasmon had a fifty- 
year treaty of alliance to arbitrate all differences. 
Even the idea of creating a new sovereign authority 
above otherwise sovereign nations, by compelling 
compliance with the decision of arbitrators is not 
new. William Penn, the great apostle of peace, 
in his work called An Essay toward the Present and 
Future Peace of Europe, suggested as his remedy 
for war an international court of arbitration, 

judgment should be made so binding that if any 
Government offers its case for decision and does 
not then abide by it, the other Governments par- 
ties to the tribunal shall compel it. 

However, the novelty or lack of novelty of the 
proposed league of peace has nothing to do with 
its possible efficacy. Its fundamental principle 
is that all nations have a common interest in peace 
and should co-operate to maintain it by jointly 
compelling every nation to submit its grievances to 
the impartial decision of an international tribunal. 
It is in effect an attempt in a rudimentary form to 
confederate the world and to merge all existing 
nations for certain world-wide purposes of interna- 
tional justice in a new governmental entity. The 

40 The War and Humanity 

chief value of this movement is that it emphasizes, 
as it seems to me most desirable, the joint respon- 
sibility of all nations for the peace of the world. 

The curse of civilization and one of the most 
fruitful causes of war is the selfish spirit of national- 
ism, which declines to accept a share in the 
common burdens of civilization. This is not 
altogether unnatural, for the horrors of war are so 
stupendous that any nation, which is not directly 
involved in a particular quarrel, is generally in- 
disposed to share in its burdens and sufferings. 
Moreover, many wars have resulted from questions 
which wholly or at least largely concerned the 
belligerent nations, and as to which other nations 
may reasonably disclaim any direct responsibility. 
To have a world-war every time two nations may 
quarrel would be intolerable. 

But the weakness of this spirit of detachment 
is that many quarrels, that arise between two 
nations, however superficially they may seem to be 
peculiar to them, often raise moral questions which 
vitally concern civilization. These moral issues un- 
doubtedly differ in degree and it would be absurd 
to contend that any nation is bound to implicate 
itself in every quarrel involving some minor moral 
issue. But as civilization becomes more closely 
interwoven by steam and electricity, the issues 

The Distress of Nations 41 

which are now of sufficient importance to result 
in war often involve a moral issue of general im- 
portance as to which no great power can wholly 
divest itself of responsibility. 

Take, for example, the present war. In the case 
of England, it was the invasion of Belgium that 
brought it into the conflict; and the horrors of 
that invasion have been such that we are too 
apt to conclude that this was the cause of the 

The refusal of Austria, instigated by Germany, to 
arbitrate a very simple question with Servia was 
the precipitating cause of the war. Servia had 
virtually yielded to every demand of Austria, many 
of which were plainly unreasonable ; but it naturally 
refused, upon the broadest considerations both of 
sovereignty and universal justice, to agree that 
partisan Austrian officials should try the guilt or 
innocence of Servian citizens in the courts of 
Servia. But as this question of guilt and inno- 
cence ought to be determined by some dispassion- 
ate tribunal, it was willing to refer the question of 
the method of such trial to the Hague tribunal. 
Austria refused and commenced the war. 

Every civilized nation had a direct and vital 
interest in this quarrel, and a consequent responsi- 
bility, for the action of the Central Powers was 

42 The War and Humanity 

the clearest disloyalty to civilization. It not 
merely attempted to crush the sovereignty of a 
smaller state but it refused to refer a perfectly jus- 
ticiable question to the arbitrament of the Hague 
tribunal. Under the theory of the proposed league 
of peace, it would have been the duty of every 
party to the league to join with England, France, 
and Russia in supporting the claims of Servia and 
resisting the arrogant demands of Austria and 
Germany. Theoretically this is admirable and in 
the instance cited would undoubtedly have pre- 
vented the titanic war. If even England and the 
United States had promptly joined with France 
and Russia in demanding that Austria should 
arbitrate her remaining question with Servia, the 
world today would not be witnessing a very deluge 
of blood. And yet if nations, which were far 
detached from Servia and had little interest in 
Austro-Servian grievances as such, had attempted 
to implicate their several peoples in a war, whose 
superficial origin was so remote, they would have 
found considerable difficulty under present con- 
ditions of thought in securing the necessary support 
of their peoples. The world is, I fear, some ages 
behind such recognition of joint responsibility. 

If, however, this sense of common responsibi- 
lity can be developed in civilization; if every 

The Distress of Nations 43 

nation shall feel that it must bear its share of 
the burden of preserving a just and durable peace, 
then war might be prevented in most contro- 
versies, for there is no nation, however great in 
power, that would challenge in physical conflict all 
the other powers of civilization. Indeed, if such 
co-operative effort could ever be secured, the 
coercion' by armies and navies might not be 
necessary, for the league of nations could probably 
compel the offending nation to maintain peace 
with equal effectiveness by an economic boycott. 
No nation would wish to make war, if all the 
leading nations should desist from commercial 
and social intercourse with such nation. With 
the conscience of mankind developed to the point 
of common responsibility, disarmament is not a 
dream, but until then it is for the pacific states a 
dangerous mirage. 

A further weakness of the League of Peace 
lies in the limitations of human nature; for I 
fear that if it were ever formed, it would 
share the fate of every government, which while 
theoretically united, is yet divided into political 
groups which may contend against each other 
not on ethical but material lines. 

No government has yet been able to make 
all men think alike; and as they do not and 

44 The War and Humanity 

their standards of morality vary in character, 
and their vital interests are divergent, a tendency 
necessarily results to break into groups of kindred 
thoughts or interests. 

I fear, therefore, that any league of peace, if it 
were seriously attempted after the conclusion of 
this war, would one day share the fate of its 
great predecessor, the Holy Alliance, which was 
founded at the end of the Napoleonic wars. I 
appreciate that the fatal defect of the Holy Al- 
liance was that its principal purpose was to 
strangle democracy and that it thus warred 
against the freedom of civilization. 

But even if the purpose of a league of peace 
were wholly altruistic, yet as different groups of 
nations have different views of policy and very 
different standards of morality, the tendency to 
break into groups would soon develop and would 
eventually lead to finesse, intrigue, and ultimate 
schism. We would thus have a civil war in civiliza- 
tion happening as suddenly as there were causes 
of quarrel large enough to split the nations of the 
league into constituent groups. 

The proposed League of Peace is doing a useful 
work in educating the masses of each nation as to 
the common responsibility of all nations for the 
peace of the world, and the duty of each nation to 

The Distress of Nations 45 

bear its share of the burden. In no country is this 
vitally important lesson more necessary than in 
the United States. 

May not the cause of peace be best advanced by 
nations of kindred ideals and substantially identi- 
cal interests co-operating in some form in defence 
of the peace of mankind ? John Fiske, the Ameri- 
can historian, forcefully said that perpetual peace 
would only be a dream until the pacific nations 
armed as well as the bellicose. This is a hard 
saying, but, so far as it goes, a true one. It, how- 
ever, would not in itself secure perpetual peace 
unless the pacific nations, by which I mean the 
nations that desire justice, shall not only be armed 
but shall co-operate by deeds as well as words to 
maintain justice in civilization. 

The best approach at the present time to an 
ultimate league of peace would be for nations, 
with common traditions, ideals, conceptions of 
morality and interests, to combine their strength 
to maintain justice in civilization. 

One of the most distinguished educators and 
notable thinkers of the United States, Dr. Charles 
W. Eliot, formerly President of Harvard College, 
in an open letter to the Boston Herald on March 
12, 1916, emphasized most vigorously this sug- 
gestion that the first step to the proposed league 

46 The War and Humanity 

of peace should be a preliminary grouping of the 
Powers which have ideals and interests in common. 
He appreciated, as any student of our history 
must appreciate, the great difficulty there would 
be in persuading the people of the United States to 
abandon even seemingly its policy of opposition 
to "entangling alliances." But the fact that a 
great student of our history, like Dr. Eliot, is 
willing to advocate such an alignment of the 
United States with the great progressive demo- 
cracies of the world indicates that the prodigious 
upheaval of the present day is slowly tending to 
make the American nation realize that it cannot 
always stand alone but that some day it must 
recognize and co-operate in some form with its 
natural associates in the family of nations. This 
does not necessarily mean an entangling alliance, 
by which I assume the Fathers of the Republic 
meant an alliance for offence and defence without 
respect to the particular matter which might call 
for common action. 

The American nation will never agree in my 
judgment to unite offensively and defensively 
with any nation irrespective of the particular 
contingency which calls for co-operative effort. 
England has shown that there is a clear distinction 
between an entangling alliance and an entente 

The Distress of Nations 47 

cordiale. The former requires co-operative effort 
and leaves no discretion. The latter is a dis- 
position rather than a contractual undertaking. 
The entente cordiale between England and France 
did not require England as matter of contractual 
obligation to align herself with France in the pre- 
sent war and England declined to do so at the begin- 
ning of the controversy. Nevertheless the friendly 
disposition toward France, as a great democracy 
of common aims and ideals, was of the most 
vital importance and impelled England to take 
part in the war far more effectually than any 
written covenant might have done. 

Similarly the United States, without departing 
from its policy of opposition to entangling alli- 
ances, could recognize an entente cordiale with 
the two great democracies, which are now 
fighting so bravely for the principles of civi- 
Hzation. It could do this with reasonable effec- 
tiveness without the Siamese-twin-like ligature 
of a formal alliance and without any express 

Dr. Eliot apparently contemplates a closer 
alliance but the wisdom of such alliance is at 
present academic, for the American people would 
never under present conditions of thought consent 
to it. Although thus academic, the reasons which 

48 The War and Humanity 

Dr. Eliot gives may justly appeal to the considera- 
tion of every thoughtful American as suggestive 
of future possibiUties if at present not susceptible 
of practical realization. Let me quote one portion 
only of Dr. Eliot's noteworthy article: 

Permanent and fundamental interests of the 
United States would then be served by entering 
into the alliance above described; but since, to 
enter into such an alliance would involve assuming 
grave responsibilities in Europe as well as in Ameri- 
ca, and thus abandoning the traditional American 
policies of isolation and neutrality, it is necessary to 
discuss not only the interests of the American 
people, but their duties. The American liberties 
are derived historically from German, Dutch, 
English, and French sources. They represent 
not only struggles and sufferings on American soil, 
but long conflicts and immense sacrifices in western 
Europe to set up and strive toward the ideals of 
individual liberty, public justice, and human 
brotherhood. Americans recognize their immeas- 
urable indebtedness to their own ancestors on 
this continent during any or all of the last three 
centuries, and are paying the indebtedness by 
preserving, improving, and passing down the 
ancestors' work. People who have read history 
from the wars of the Dutch Republic know how 
much America is indebted to Dutch struggles for 
liberty, to German Protestantism, to Magna 
Charta, and the English commonwealth, to Hugue- 
not heroism and to French insistence, through 
many woes and reverses, on liberty, equality, and 

The Distress of Nations 49 

fraternity. The American Republic pays these 
obligations in part by standing as a striking example 
of the strength, security, industrial efficiency, 
and prosperity which are attainable under a regime 
of large public and private liberty; and with this 
partial payment both America and Europe have 
heretofore been content. The present war has, 
however, revealed dangers for public liberty in 
Europe and the Americas which were not realized 
by the freer European nations or by the American 
peoples until 1914 and 1915. All persons who 
observe and reflect can now perceive that the 
immense military power of Germany, Austria- 
Hungary, and Turkey skilfully combined, scientifi- 
cally directed by Prussia, and ruthlessly used, 
threatens the public liberties of the rest of Europe 
and indeed, of all the world. Under analogous 
circumstances, in private life any brave and gene- 
rous man who felt under serious obligations to a 
neighbour would go to that neighbour's help if 
he saw him in dire distress; and the more acute the 
distress, and the greater the risk run in bringing 
help, the surer it would be that the brave debtor 
would take the risk and relieve the neighbour 
before it was too late. Therein he would be doing 
a plain duty, as well as obeying a generous impulse 
and serving his own highest interest. The same 
moral principles apply equally to national action. 

Now that the long-prepared foreign policies, 
state objects, and military methods of Germany 
and Austria-Hungary have been made plain in 
the sight of all men, the neutral attitude of the 
United States is no longer satisfactory to Ameri- 
cans who give attention to the chief events of this 

50 The War and Humanity 

sudden collapse of civilization. It is time for 
lovers of public liberty and justice to cease to be 
merely lookers-on at the prodigious catastrophe. 
It is time to express forcibly their convictions as 
to the side on which the right lies, and to make 
ready to take part in the terrible strife. It is 
time to feel and speak strongly about something 
more than the rights of neutrals. It is time for the 
deepest-rooted and strongest of republics to con- 
sider how it can best bring direct help to harassed 
and bleeding France and Great Britain. It is 
time for all the Americas to take sides openly 
with the European peoples who are now resisting 
military despotism and dangerous national_ambi- 
tions, and to discharge their obligations to the 
liberty-loving generations of the past and the 

The great lesson of this war for the United 
States has been this awakened sense of a greater 
responsibility to civilization than that of which it 
has hitherto dreamed. From the beginning a 
detached nation, the spirit of isolation has always 
powerfully influenced its policies. This detach- 
ment was accentuated by its severance from the 
mother empire and seemingly had an authority 
in the doctrine of Washington that we should 
avoid any entanglement in European politics. 

As I shall venture to show later, Washington, 
however, only predicated this doctrine upon the 
conditions and during the period of our infancy. 

The Distress of Nations 51 

Not only has that period of infancy passed, but 
the steamship, the railroad, the telegraph, and the 
cable have brought to an end the geographical 
detachment which existed in his day and which 
powerfully influenced his avowedly temporary 
policy of isolation. An ever increasing number of 
the American people are realizing this momentous 
change in our position in the family of nations. 
From the beginning of this great war, a vastly 
predominating majority have sympathized wholly 
and freely with the cause of the Allies, because 
they believed that cause was just and involved the 
vital and noblest interests of civilization. 

At first, owing to this traditional policy of isola- 
tion, we did not feel that we had any higher duty 
than that of sympathy, a sympathy not merely 
academic but which soon became an attitude of 
benevolent neutrality. But this policy of isolation 
is not intelligible to our natural allies, the democ- 
racies of Europe. They cannot distinguish it from 
pure selfishness. While this book was in press, 
the author went to France and England, and in 
ten speeches, delivered in London, Glasgow, Man- 
chester, and Paris, endeavoured to explain to his 
foreign audiences the difficulty of America in play- 
ing its part in this world struggle, and he had the 
satisfaction of knowing that his mission was not 

52 The War and Humanity 

wholly in vain, and that many leaders of thought 
in England and France realized more clearly the 
difficulty of America's position, and the good will 
to their cause of a majority of its people. One of 
these speeches is printed at the close of this vol- 
ume, under the title of "America and the Allies,'* 
and those who read that address, and also my dis- 
cussion of Washington's foreign policy (pp. 167-202) 
will find a fuller statement of the reasons why 
Dr. Eliot's idea of an entente cordiale, and the pro- 
posed world co-operation of the League of Peace, 
will find a serious obstacle in the United States, 
as long as it adheres to its traditional policy of 

The future of civilization will depend in large 
measure upon the helpful and sympathetic co- 
operation of England and the United States, the 
two great divisions of the English-speaking race; 
and it would be an immeasurable calamity if any 
thing happens in this war which would in any way 
prevent or impair such co-operation. 

It was well said by Lord Russell, of Killowen, 
that "we represent the great English-speaking 
community, the communities occupying a large 
space of the surface of the earth, combining at 
once territorial dominion, political influence, and 
intellectual force" — and the Lord Chief Justice 

The Distress of Nations 53 

might have added, moral power— " greater than 
history records in the case of any other people." 

Let us hope that at no distant day the three 
great democracies of civilization, England, France, 
and the United States, will work in unison for the 
peace of the world, and is it wholly a dream that 
to these may be added a fourth, the Republic of 
Germany ? With its efficiency and discipline, Ger- 
many could readily become one of the most potent 
and noble democracies of the world. As such, 
despite all present bitterness, it would be welcomed 
into the full fellowship of the free nations. 



'And pity, like a naked newborn babe, 
Striding the blast, or, Heaven's cherubim, horshd 
Upon the sightless couriers of the air. 
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye. 
That tears shall drown the wind." 

— Shakespeare. 




There are two political organizations, which by- 
reason of the vast influence which each exerts upon 
millions of intelligent beings, and their detached yet 
cosmopolitan character, enjoyed at the beginning 
of the world war an exceptional moral prestige in 
civiHzation. In the estimation of countless thou- 
sands each has failed to meet the expectations of 
the world in its greatest moral crisis. How far is 
this disappointment justified in the case of the 
United States? 

If it has failed it is not because its people did 
not understand the gravity of the moral crisis, but 
because in its foreign relations there is no real 
coercive public opinion to shape its policies. All 
is left to its President for the time being, and it 
has been the pitiful misfortune of the United 
States in this crisis of civilization to be betrayed 
by incompetent and timid leadership. Next to 
Bethman-Hollweg's "scrap of paper" phrase the 
world reserves its greatest scorn for the " too 
proud to fight " utterance of President Wilson. 


58 The War and Humanity 

A year has passed since the world heard 
with horror of the sinking of the Lusitania, the 
greatest tragedy of the seas. As the anniversary 
approached, Americans everywhere recalled the 
crime with feelings of deepest detestation, mingled 
with the keenest humiliation. The latter feeling 
sounded the deepest note in their souls. The 
foul crime of the Lusitania had not yet been 
disavowed, and it will never be fully redressed 
unless the watery grave of the Lusitania shall 
prove to be the lasting grave of the Hohen- 
zollem dynasty. That will be an expiation 
worthy of .^schylus or Shakespeare. 

The American people grieve for the victims of 
the Lusitania and for those near to them, to whom 
has come the infinite but common tragedy of the 
"vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is 
still. " They recall with horror that many of these 
victims were little children, and to him, who caused 
this massacre of the innocents, whether he wear 
an admiral's stripes or an imperial crown, will 
one day come the condemnation spoken nearly 
two thousand years ago: 

And whoso shall offend one of these little ones, 
which believe in me, it were better for him that a mill- 
stone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned 
in the depth of the sea. 

The Submarine Controversy 59 

Charles Lamb has said that the tragedy of King 
Lear was unactable for the reason that the sublime 
third act, the greatest in all tragedies in its poig- 
nant pathos, so exhausted the capacity for sym- 
pathy, that the remaining two acts fell upon 
deadened souls. Similarly, the accumulating hor- 
rors of this war of nations have so stupefied the 
hearts of Americans that the dominant emotion 
of their souls, as they recall this crowning crime 
of the century, is not only grief for the victims, 
but the deeper sorrow, which they feel in the 
impairment of their prestige as a nation. 

When the author spent the summer of 19 16 in 
England and France, he was privileged to meet 
many distinguished statesmen and soldiers of both 
nations. Their surprise and disappointment in 
the failure of America to exact full and swift 
atonement for this murder of American women 
and children was manifest. When they spoke, 
it was to express deep appreciation of what in- 
dividual Americans had done; but when pressed 
to express their opinion of its Government, they 
gave the impression that America as the land of 
ideals had for them ceased to exist. 

If moral values are of greater moment than ma- 
terial prosperity, then this bouleversement is the 
greatest calamity that the United States could 

6o The War and Humanity 

suffer. If its great cities had been destroyed, and 
economic ruin had swept the land as a devouring 
hurricane, the injury would have been less, for 
America could rebuild its cities and restore its 
material prosperity, but the honour of a nation, 
once compromised, is not so easily regained. 

What shall it profit a nation to gain the whole 
world and lose its own soul in the opinion of 
mankind ? 

Let us consider to what extent this feeling is 
justified by the facts. In doing so, candour and 
interest alike require plain speech. It is not a 
time for self-complacency. The nobler spirit of 
America has been dulled by too many Peck- 
sniffian platitudes during the last two years, and 
the rising spirit of indignation among true Ameri- 
cans will sooner or later demand a fearless appre- 
ciation of what has happened, and a resolute 
purpose to vindicate its honour. 

When the world war broke out, no principle of in- 
ternational law was more securely established than 
that war should be so conducted that injury and 
death should be spared to non-combatants so 
far as was humanly possible. The principle was 
as old as civilization. The idea that it was of 
modern origin is largely due to the fact that the 
horrors of the Thirty Years' War, with its sack 

The Submarine Controversy 6i 

of Magdeburg and other atrocities, — a fitting 
parallel to the rape of Belgium, — caused the 
great philosopher and jurist, Grotius, in 1625, 
to define in his classic treatise, " De jure belli 
et pads,'' this principle of humanity, which in 
times of war marks the chief line of demarcation 
between savagery and civilization. 

Grotius abundantly proved by citations from 
Cicero, Sallust, and Seneca that to spare non- 
combatants and treat even captured soldiers with 
humanity and moderation was a basic principle of 
civilization. The excesses of the Circus Maximus 
and the Coliseum marked the baser days of the 
later Csesars. In the application of this principle, 
Grotius quoted Seneca as holding that, "in the 
calamities of war, children are exempted and 
spared on the score of their age, and women from 
respect to their sex." 

In his noble oration in defence of Ligarius, 
Cicero voiced to no less a judge than the greatest 
of the Caesars the virtue of moderation to the 
vanquished and uttered the immortal truth that 
"man can approach no nearer to the gods than in 
giving safety to men." 

The principle, thus recognized even in the times 
of the earlier Cassars, received a powerful impetus 
with the advance of civilization and the growth 

62 The War and Humanity 

of Christianity, and in the days of chivalry be- 
came one of general recognition. No one can 
assert that this ideal was always observed in the 
passionate strife of the Middle Ages but it was an 
ideal, consistently avowed, which generally moder- 
ated the excesses of war. The mediaeval knight 
disdained to use his sword upon a non-combatant ; 
but now, to quote Burke's sad lament: "The age 
of chivalry is gone . . . and the glory of Europe is 
departed. " 

Such was the undoubted law of civilization at 
the outbreak of this war. It is no answer to say 
that international law is a misnomer and means 
little more than the etiquette of nations, to be 
observed or disregarded according to the pleas- 
ure or necessities of the combatant, for of this 
and other great principles of humanity, Alexander 
Hamilton eloquently said : 

The sacred rights of man are not to be searched 
for in old documents and musty records. They are 
written as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of 
human nature by the hand of Divinity itself and 
can never be erased by mortal power. 

The clearest recognition of this principle is 
evidenced by the fact that for five months after 
the war began it was never asserted by any 

The Submarine Controversy 63 

belligerent that any right existed to slaughter 
indiscriminately non-combatants, whether citi- 
zens of belligerent nations or not, in order to 
destroy an enemy's commerce. The first intima- 
tion to the contrary was an authorized interview 
by Admiral Tirpitz, given to the world on the 
eve of Christmas — God save the mark! — in 
which that chief of pirates, whom history has 
recorded, — for no buccaneer of the Spanish main 
ever did a fouler deed than the destruction of the 
Lusitania — stated that it was his intention to tor- 
pedo every merchant vessel belonging to the Allies, 
and, directing his challenge to America, he asked, 
"What will America then say?" Had President 
Wilson then called upon Germany to affirm or 
disaffirm this threat of its chief naval commander 
under penalty of an immediate severance of 
diplomatic relations, this black and shameful 
chapter of history would probably never have 
been written. 

.This was followed on February 4, 19 15, by a 
proclamation, which established a war zone around 
the British Isles and said : 

Every enemy merchant ship found in the said 
war zone will be destroyed without its being always 
possible to avert the dangers threatening the crews and 

64 The War and Humanity 

America accepted the challenge in the most 
unequivocal manner, when its Government on 
February lo, 19 15, called the attention of the 
German Government "to the very serious possi- 
bilities of the course of action apparently con- 
templated, " and added as a warning that if such 
cause of action caused 

the death of any American citizens, it would be 
difficult for the United States to view the act in 
any other light than as an indefensible violation of 
neutral rights, Jor which the Government would he 
concerned to hold the German Government to a strict 
accountability, and to take any steps it might he neces- 
sary to take to safeguard the .American lives and 
liberty and to secure to American citizens the full 
enjoyment of their acknowledged rights on the 
high seas. 

Thus was the issue joined with brave words, and 
if the Wilson Administration had then begun to 
make adequate preparations to vindicate these 
words with deeds, it is reasonably possible that 
the Lusitania would never have sunk. 

Whether the German Government was indiffer- 
ent to the hostility of America or misled by the 
assurance which its then Secretary of State is said 
to have given to the Austrian Ambassador that its 
notes were to be taken in a Pickwickian sense and 

The Submarine Controversy 65 

as chiefly intended for home consumption, we do 
not know, but it is certain that the German Gov- 
ernment shortly thereafter determined to test the 
sincerity of these emphatic warnings. 

On March the 28th, 191 5, it sank the British 
steamer, the Falaba, without any warning and 
destroyed a number of Hves, including that of an 
American citizen. 

It followed this a month later by firing on the 
American flag and sinking the American steamer, 
the Gulflight, and three more of its citizens be- 
came the victims to their piracy. 

On May 24th a German submarine torpedoed 
the American steamer, the Nebraskan, and the 
German Foreign Office then assumed its attitude 
of almost contemptuous indifference by sending to 
Washington the extraordinary explanation that 
the commander of the submarine could not 
see because of the gathering twilight what the 
nationality of the vessel was and therefore tor- 
pedoed the unknown ship on the assumption that 
it must be a belligerent ship, and it was sardonic- 
ally added that on this account the shot must not 
be regarded as intended for the American flag but 
simply as "an unfortunate accident." 

On April the 22nd the German Government de- 
termined to direct on American soil the actions of 

66 The War and Humanity 

American citizens and in defiance of the principles 
laid down by President Wilson. At that time a 
large number of American citizens were preparing, 
in full confidence that their rights would be vindi- 
cated by their Government, to sail on the Lusi- 
tania, and the German Embassy, by an advertise- 
ment dated April 22nd and published May the 
first, warned the citizens that if they sailed on the 
Lusitania they would do so "at their own risk." 
This meant and could only mean that the German 
Government forbade American citizens to do that 
which their Government had told them they had 
a right to do. 

This violation of all diplornatic proprieties and 
virtual defiance of our Government on its own soil 
was intensified when the German Foreign Office, 
after the Lusitania had been sunk, ironically ex- 
pressed its regret that Americans felt more in- 
clined to trust to English promises than to pay 
attention to the warnings from the German side. 

When Genet made a similar but far less repre- 
hensible attempt to appeal over the head of the 
President to the American people. President 
Washington, although his country was then in its 
infancy and ill prepared to defend its rights, 
promptly demanded his recall. De Lome went 
home because of one slur on President McKinley 

The Submarine Controversy 67 

in a private letter, while Sackville-West was given 
his passports because he expressed an opinion in 
another private letter how an American citizen 
should vote. America compelled Spain to dis- 
avow the murder of the crew of the Virginius, 
and later sought to compel Mexico on short 
notice to salute its flag because American officers 
had been arrested by overzealous Mexican sub- 

If Ambassador Bernstorff had been given his 
passports then, it is again probable that the 
Lusitania would never have sunk. 

The Wilson Administration was not unaware of 
the gross impropriety of the action of the German 
Embassy, because it called its attention to it as a 
"surprising irregularity," but with this very mild 
rebuke, it permitted the German Ambassador to 
remain, and he has since influenced the action of 
the Washington Government as no other foreign 
diplomat has ever done. Emboldened by his im- 
munity, his military and naval attaches. Von 
Papen and Boy-Ed, outraged "every principle of 
diplomatic intercourse by making the United 
States a base of belligerent operations. 

The impropriety of the German Embassy was 
emphasized when Dr. Dernburg, the semi-official 
representative of the Kaiser in America, cynically 

68 The War and Humanity 

added to the formal warning of the German 
Embassy : 

If after such warning and publication of the fact 
that a ship contained contraband, as I have sug- 
gested, people want to travel in her, it is their own 
affair. Nobody can prevent their committing sui- 
cide if they wish. 

This brutally cynical remark also went unre- 
buked ; until, with his exultant justification of the 
massacre of the Lusitania, public opinion — and 
not a laggard Government — drove him from the 
United States, whose hospitality he had so shame- 
fully abused. 

The Lusitania sailed on May ist with 2500 non- 
combatants on board; and on May 7th, without 
the slightest warning or an opportunity to escape, 
it was cruelly and treacherously torpedoed, and 
over one thousand men, women, and children were 
thrown to the waves. 

Two days later the President of the United 
States spoke in the city of Philadelphia and the 
entire world listened with bated breath to what 
the first citizen of American would say in relation 
to this outrage. He had only to lead. The 
American people were then ready to follow. 

Mr, Wilson knew and must have known that 
every syllable he then uttered would be neces- 

The Submarine Controversy 69 

sarily construed as having a direct reference to his 
attitude and that of his country. He must have 
been conscious of this, and this was his message 
to the world : 

Is not there such a thing as a man being too 
proud to fight? There is such a thing as a nation 
being so right that it does not need to convince 
others by force that it is right. 

The German Government thereafter not un- 
naturally paid little attention to successive notes, 
which it and the world generally regarded as more 
voluble than valuable. 

On May 13, 19 15, Mr. Wilson did protest 
against this inhuman outrage, but all that was 
said was that 

the Imperial German Government will not expect 
the Government of the United States to omit any 
word or any act necessary to the performance of its 
sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United 
States and its citizens and of safeguarding their 
free exercise and enjoyment. 

Thereafter no ' ' word ' ' was omitted. The Presi- 
dent mobilized the dictionary most effectively and 
vigorously opposed German submarines with a 

On May 28, 191 5, the German Government 
justified the sinking of the Lusitania upon grounds, 

70 The War and Humanity 

all of which were untenable and some of which were 
false in fact. 

On June 9th, Mr. Lansing addressed a note to the 
German Government and demanded assurances 

that the Imperial Government will adopt the meas- 
ures necessary to put these principles into practice 
in respect to the safeguarding of American lives 
and American ships. 

While this ineffective interchange of notes was 
taking place, the German Government was in no 
unmeaning way indicating by its acts its inten- 
tion to carry on the policy of frightfulness on the 
high seas. 

On June 28, 1915, it sank the Armenian and 
killed eleven American citizens, and nineteen days 
later it attacked the great trans-Atlantic passenger 
ship, the Orduna, and only a missed shot prevented 
a repetition of the Lusitania massacre. 

On July 2 1st the German Government, having 
persistently refused to disavow the Lusitania 
outrage, Secretary Lansing addressed to it an- 
other note, in which the rights of American citi- 
zens as neutrals were again emphasized and which 
concluded by saying that 

friendship itself prompts it [the United States] to 
say to the Imperial Government that repetition by 

The Submarine Controversy 71 

commanders of German naval vessels of acts in 
contravention of these rights must be regarded by 
the Government of the United States, when they 
affect American citizens, as deliberately unfriendly. 

It will be noted that in this demand President 
Wilson commenced to modify at least the grounds 
of his contention by omitting the previous wholly 
creditable assertion of the rights of non-combatants 
on general principles of humanity and by restrict- 
ing it to the rights of American citizens to be in 
any event immune. 

This modification went far to compromise the 
principle upon which the whole contention of 
America was necessarily based. This distinction 
between the rights of neutrals and the rights of 
non-combatants was not an inadvertence. The 
note was prepared by President Wilson with the 
utmost care, and it is said that he spent some 
hours in considering whether he would use the 
words "deliberately unfriendly" or "an unfriendly 
act," although it would take a mediaeval scholiast 
to recognize the precise distinction. 

While these innocuous notes were being ex- 
changed, Admiral von Tirpitz and his subordinate 
pirates were not idle, for on August the 19th they 
destroyed the Arabic and killed some more 
American citizens. This act and the subsequent 

72 The War and Humanity 

inaction of the Wilson Administration raised so 
strong a storm of protest among the American 
people that the sagacious Bernstorff evidently ad- 
vised his home Government that while it could 
trifle with some American officials, it could not 
thus deal with impunity with the American peo- 
ple, and thereupon the German Foreign Office 
attempted to give the impression that the sinking 
of the Arabic had been contrary to authority, and 
it authorized its Ambassador at Washington to 
give this Government a solemn pledge that 

liners will not be sunk by our submarines without 
warning and without providing for the safety of 
the lives of non-combatants, provided that the 
liners do not try to escape or offer resistance. 

This pledge was given not in Bernstorff's 
language but in formal terms conveyed through 
him to Washington by the German Foreign 
Office. The pledge was absolute and without 
restriction as to the war zone. And yet in its note 
of May 5, 191 6, as we shall presently see, the 
German Foreign Office denied that any such 
assurance was ever given as to " Hners " in the 
so-called war zone. 

This was not the only pledge, for Secretary 
Lansing states in his later note of April i8th, that 

The Submarine Controversy 73 

again and again the Imperial Government has given 
its solemn assurances to the Government of the 
United States that at least passenger ships would not 
thus be dealt with. 

As recently as February last it promised this 
except as to armed merchantmen, but these 
promises proved to be only "scraps of paper." 

The assurances that were thus given that the 
attempted torpedoing of the Orduna and the 
torpedoing of the Arabic and the Ancona were 
in violation of instructions would belong to low 
comedy, if it were not in results the subject of 
high tragedy. Remembering the incalculable 
consequences that might befall Germany, if the 
American Government had proceeded to vindi- 
cate the rights of its citizens and the principles of 
humanity, it is altogether incredible that any 
commander of a submarine would have acted in 
violation of the instructions given to him by his 
Government. Remembering the discipline of the 
German army, navy, and civil government, it is 
morally certain that whatever assurances have been 
given through diplomats or whatever ships have 
been sunk by submarine commanders have been 
by direct authority of the respective heads of these 
departments and with the knowledge of the su- 
preme War Lord. When therefore, assurances were 

74 The War and Humanity 

given to this country that no more liners should 
be sunk without warning, and when submarine 
commanders subsequently proceeded to sink such 
ships without warning, the conclusion is reasonable 
that the same responsible ruler and War Lord, 
who gave the pledge through his chancellor, permit- 
ted its violation by his submarine commanders. 

The false pledge, thus given to America to lull 
it into a false sense of security, was accompanied 
by another policy of sinister significance. In the 
United States, public indignation was steadily 
increasing at this ineffective exchange of notes; 
and the German Ambassador, thereupon, insidi- 
ously suggested to Secretary Lansing that the 
policy of publishing notes should cease and that 
further communication should be conducted by 
confidential "conversations," which left little 
scope for the influence of public opinion either in 
Germany or in the United States. Thus was the 
policy of "pitiless publicity" vindicated in a grave 
matter! Undoubtedly diplomatic communica- 
tions may often both advantageously and properly 
be conducted in camera, but this controversy had 
hitherto been conducted in the forum of public 
opinion and its sudden transfer to "secret diplo- 
macy" by the great apostle of "pitiless publicity" 
was but another surprising change of policy. 

The Submarine Controversy 75 

While these confidential "conversations" were 
proceeding, the horror of the Lusitania was re- 
peated on November 7, 19 15, when a submarine, 
carrying the Austrian flag, sank the Ancona, and 
nine more American citizens were sacrificed. 
Once again the familiar excuse was given that the 
commander had acted in excess of his instructions 
and it was agreed that he should be punished. If 
he has ever been punished, the fact and nature of 
his punishment have yet to be made public. His 
punishment may have been to be decorated, as was 
the commander of the submarine which sank the 
Lusitania. In this connection it may be noted 
that so far as the public knows all inquiries of 
the American Government as to the character of 
the punishment meted out to the commanders, 
who sank the Ancona and the Sussex, remain 

On September 30th, another passenger steamer, 
the Persia, was sunk, and another American life, 
that of an official of the United States, was sacri- 
ficed. As the Persia presumably did not commit 
suicide by torpedoing itself, and as the scene of 
disaster was beyond the region of mines, it is not a 
very rash assumption that either a German or an 
Austrian submarine sank it. 

After these confidential conversations had pro- 

76 The War and Humanity 

ceeded for about six months more, announcement 
was loudly and triumphantly made in February 
1 91 6, that the submarine controversy had been 
finally settled. The settlement would have been 
consummated but for the fact that the issue of 
the status of armed merchantmen arose, and the 
proposed settlement was again postponed. Had 
it been consummated, it would have involved 
on the part of our country a partial compromise 
of the principle of humanity involved. 

As that compromise may yet be revived in the 
tortuous course of future negotiations, it is import- 
ant that its nature should be clearly recognized, 
so that public opinion may, if possible, prevent it. 

The proposed settlement, which was for a few 
fleeting days proclaimed from Washington as a 
great diplomatic triumph for the United States, 
commenced with a promise to pay cash for 
the lives of the American citizens, who were 
lost on the Lusitania. The German Govern- 
ment then agreed to conform its future warfare 
to the recognized principles of international law, 
and then, as a disavowal of the Lusitania outrage, 
the German Government was to make substan- 
tially the following acknowledgment to the world: 

Germany, while considering reprisals against an 
enemy legal, but knowing that the United States 

The Submarine Controversy ^^ 

regards reprisals as illegal, admits that the attack 
on the Lusitania was an act of retaliation that was 
not justifiable so far as it involved the loss of neutral 
lives, and also assumes liability for such loss of life. 

Such was the nature of the settlement, as semi- 
officially given to the press of the country both by 
the American State Department and the German 

At the time that this proposed settlement was 
interrupted by the new issue of arming merchant- 
men, Secretary Lansing and the German Ambas- 
sador were discussing whether Germany would 
**assume" liability or would "recognize" liabil- 
ity. This was the merest verbal hair-splitting 
in view of the express admission by the German 
Government that the attack on the Lusitania was 
unjustifiable "so far as it involved the loss of 
neutral lives. " Had this qualified disavowal been 
accepted by America, it would have compromised 
the justice of its cause and modified the existing 
law of humanity. 

If the attack on the Lusitania were only 
unjustifiable "so far as it involved the loss of 
neutral lives," then the implication is not un- 
reasonable that it was justifiable so far as it 
destroyed the lives of non-combatants of belliger- 
ent nations. It is true that it does not expressly 

78 The War and Humanity 

say so, but the "disavowal," which the United 
States had insistently demanded for nearly a 
year, was a full recognition of a wrong, and to the 
extent that a wrong was not admitted it was by 
implication justified by this attempted ' ' accord and 
satisfaction. " This distinction was indefensible 
either on grounds of humanity or of international 
law. If Germany had a right without visit or search 
to attack the Lusitania because it was an English 
vessel and was believed to be carrying contraband, 
and had a right to destroy English non-combat- 
ants, then that right could not be impaired by the 
accidental presence on the Lusitania of American 
citizens. No American would contend that the 
army of the Crown Prince was prevented from 
bombarding Verdun if some American citizens 
were accidentally in the beleaguered city. 

The massacre of the passengers and crew of the 
Lusitania was unjustifiable, not because American 
citizens were sacrificed, but because all on board 
were non-combatants. Its sinking without pre- 
vious visit or search and without making any pro- 
vision for the lives of the passengers and crew, 
would have been in gross violation of the previously 
accepted law of nations, even though no neutral 
happened to be there. Germany had always 
asserted and even insisted upon this contention. 

The Submarine Controversy 79 

Indeed it had formerly carried further this principle 
of immunity by asserting that the crew of a bel- 
ligerent merchant vessel could not even be made 
prisoners of war. Such was the contention of 
Prince Bismarck in the Franco-German War of 
1870, when a French warship seized a German 
merchant vessel and thus treated its crew. 

President Wilson had in the earlier stages of the 
diplomatic controversy clearly recognized this fact 
and had very properly and justly rested its conten- 
tion upon the rights of non-combatants, but in the 
later notes, and until the final note of April i8th, 
he so far modified his claim as to rest it upon the 
immunity of neutrals from the effects of reprisals. 
Most fortunately, after the destruction of the 
Sussex had again aroused the Wilson Administra- 
tion from its policy of inaction, its claim was again 
securely rested not merely upon the rights of 
neutrals but "upon manifest principles of human- 
ity." It fittingly and forcefully denounced sub- 
marine warfare as "utterly incompatible with the 
principles of humanity, the rights of neutrals, and 
the sacred immunities of non-combatants." It 
is most gratifying that it thus returned to the 
broader and nobler ground of its contention. 

Unless we are to retrograde to the principles of 
savagery, which prevailed in the dark ages and 

8o The War and Humanity 

before the Roman Empire, then the fundamental 
and all-comprehensive restriction on the rights of 
war must be based on the broad and humane con- 
sideration that as non-combatants make no pre- 
tence to fight, either by way of offence or defence, 
their lives shall be spared so far as is humanly pos- 
sible. No other position can be reconciled with 
the claims of conscience. 

To any humane man, it cannot matter whether 
the women and children, who were so ruthlessly 
thrown to the waves, were Americans, Germans, 
Austrians, French, English, or Russian. They 
were women and children, and that ought to have 
been the chief ground of their immunity. If this 
principle were ever important to humanity, it is 
infinitely important today, when the methods of 
destruction have been horribly and infinitely 
multiplied by the agencies of chemistry. 

Undoubtedly a siege of a city incidentally in- 
volves both injury and death to many non- 
combatants. The blockade of a country has of 
necessity a like effect. Prince Bismarck in 1871, 
and Count Capri vi in 1892 both contended that a 
blockade to cut off foodstuffs was not only legiti- 
mate warfare but a comparatively humane way Gi 
ending a war. Germany won its great triumph 
over France in 1871 by starving the non-combat- 

The Submarine Controversy 8i 

ants of Paris. While Bismarck and von Moltke 
feasted in Versailles, the people of Paris died by- 
thousands. They fed upon horses, dogs, cats, and 
even rats. A dog fetched twenty francs, a rat 
five, but even these last rCvSorts to avoid starvation 
could not save children, who perished for want of 
milk. Bismarck threatened to resign if his govern- 
ment even accumulated food supplies to give the 
starving people of Paris immediate sustenance upon 
their surrender, claiming that that course would 
encourage France to prolong the contest to the 
last possible hour. The world accepted this 
method of war, because a surrender would avoid 
starvation. " Krieg ist Krieg/' The coercion of 
a nation by a food blockade is often an incident 
of warfare, but it does not follow that an aero- 
plane, a ZeppeHn, a submarine, or a platoon of 
soldiers can deliberately and intentionally destroy 
non-combatants to terrorize and coerce a belligerent 

The indiscriminate dropping of explosives on 
a city, like London, Freiburg, or Stuttgart, not 
within the true war zone, is wrong, whether done 
by English, German, or French aviators, and is a 
deadly affront to civilization. I share with Lord 
Bryce the profound regret that the Allies have oc- 
casionally resorted to reprisals of this character. 

82 The War and Humanity 

Fortunately this proposed compromise of the 
underlying moral principle as to the sacred im- 
munity of non-combatants without distinction 
of nationality was forgotten in the issue as to 
armed merchantmen ; and while that was pending, 
the German Government again committed an in- 
defensible outrage in sinking on March 24, 191 6, 
the Sussex, a Channel ferryboat, and again de- 
stroying many women and children. 

When challenged to justify this act and other 
acts of a similar character, and to reconcile these 
murderous deeds with the solemn pledges given 
to this Government, the German Government on 
i\pril 10, 1 91 6, replied with a cynically insolent 
note. It said in effect that although a German 
submarine did on the same day, at about the same 
hour, and in the same locality, and in the same 
manner, sink an English boat, yet that a sketch 
drawn by the captain of the submarine through his 
periscope, did not correspond with the picture of 
the Sussex in a London illustrated paper, and that 
it therefore must have been another vessel. 

This note would be comic, if it were not so 
tragic. It was an obvious insult to the Wash- 
ington Government and measures the attitude 
of almost contemptuous indifference which the 
German Government then maintained to the 

The Submarine Controversy 83 

United States. As to the three other ships, de- 
stroyed about the same time, the German Gov- 
ernment repHed by admitting the fact and 
justifying the deed, without even deigning to 
give a reason. 

This was the culmination of a course of conduct 
running over a year, in which not only the acknow- 
ledged rules of international law and the principles 
of humanity, but the solemn pledges to the United 
States, had been ruthlessly and cynically broken. 
And yet, after all that experience of deception, 
cunning, and violated promises, all that the United 
States Government did, by its note of April 18, 
191 6, was to demand an immediate cessation of 
these practices (a demand already made in almost 
the same terms on June 9, 191 5) accompanied, 
however, by the threat that if the demand were not 
complied with, diplomatic relations between the 
two countries would be severed. 

It is true that the German Government bases 
its justification of these outrages upon the prin- 
ciple of reprisal and that the law of reprisals 
may to some not clearly defined extent modify 
the ordinary rules of war is clear; but repri- 
sals must be equivalent in degree, if not in kind, 
and cannot override fundamental principles of 

84 The War and Humanity 

If England is violating international law by- 
shutting off the food supplies of the German 
population, then Germany would be equally 
justified in cutting off by lawfiil methods the food 
supplies of England. If in such a blockade Eng- 
land, without preliminary visit and seizure, sank 
German merchant vessels and massacred non- 
combatants, then Germany would, as to the non- 
combatants of the offending country, have the 
right of reprisal. But it does not follow that a 
blockade of a country, with the incidental result 
of economic suffering to the civilian population, 
justifies by way of reprisal the dehberate massacre 
of non-combatants on a merchant vessel. 

The German Government did not suggest, when 
Paris was besieged in 1870, and its people were 
dying from starvation, that such injury to thou- 
sands of non-combatants would justify the French 
Army in shooting every German non-combatant, 
who happened to be in the besieged city, and yet 
logically this would result from Germany's present 
contention. To admit that the suffering, which 
the civilian population of any country incidentally 
suffers through a blockade, justifies a resort to sav- 
agery would be a fatal negation of international 
law. The blockade of the South by the Federal 
Government in the Civil War caused great suffer- 

The Submarine Controversy 85 

ing to the civilian population of the South but 
would it have justified piracy? 

The American note of April i8th demanded an 
immediate reply. Germany showed its indifference 
to this request by waiting more than a fortnight, 
although the Teutonic Powers gave Servia only 
forty-eight hours to consider far more sweeping 
demands. This delay might be excused if the 
reply were in its form conciliatory. On the con- 
trary, the note in places was insulting in terms and 
at no place gave an unqualified acceptance of the 
just demands of the United States. 

Replying to the assertion of the American note 
that the submarine methods had resulted in the 
"indiscriminate destruction of vessels of all sorts, 
nationalities, and destinations," the German 
Foreign Office, having passed through the various 
stages of a quarrel referred to by Touchstone, 
finally reached the "lie direct" by the amazing 
statement that it emphatically repudiated the 
assertion, adding a charge that the United States 
had made a grave charge without any specification 
of facts. It then proceeds to repudiate to some ex- 
tent the express pledge, which was given by Count 
Bemstorff to Secretary Lansing on September the 
first, that no " liners " should be sunk without pre- 
liminary compliance with the rules of international 

86 The War and Humanity 

law as to visit and seizure, by stating that it 
never agreed to limit its method of warfare "in the 
war zone surrounding Great Britain." It adds: 

With regard to these [meaning thereby "enemy 
merchant vessels" in the war zone] no assurances 
have ever been given to the Government of the 
United States. 

This presented a remarkable culmination to a 
strange chapter of diplomatic history. At a time 
when the American Government was pressing for a 
disavowal of the sinking of the Lusitania and ask- 
ing for explanations as to the Arabic, both destroyed 
in the so-called war zone, Count Bemstorff stated 
that he was authorized by his Government to give 
an assurance that "Uners" should not be sunk 
without respecting the unquestioned principles of 
international law as to the safety of non-com- 
batants. As all the vessels, of whose destruction 
the United States was then complaining, had been 
sunk in the war zone and included all classes of 
"liners," passenger or freight, and as its demands 
for a disavowal and cessation of these murderous 
practices had their principal reference to the war 
zone, the pledge of September 1st, phrased by the 
German Foreign Office without respect to locality, 
that "liners" should not be destroyed could only 

The Submarine Controversy 87 

have one meaning. If the war zone and enemy 
merchant vessels were to be exempted from the 
operation of the pledge, the German Foreign Office 
should have said so. That office never qualified 
that pledge, although its Ambassador in Washing- 
ton did state some months later, on January 7, 
19 1 6, that in the Mediterranean, German sub- 

had from the beginning orders to conduct "cruiser 
warfare" against enemy merchant vessels only in 
accordance with the general principles of interna- 
tional law and in particular measures of reprisal, as 
applied to the war zone around the British Isles, were 
to be excluded. 

Little attention was paid to these words at 
the time, but it is clear that as to the so-called 
war zone, Germany never intended to respect the 
principles of international law regarding warfare 
against merchant vessels, and that the pledge of 
September ist, which wholly failed to give this 
warning, was a palpable attempt to deceive neutral 
nations by a misleading promise. 

The quibble involved in the contention of the 
German note of May 5th did not relate so much 
to the waters within and beyond the so-called 
war zone as to the distinction, which the Ger- 
man Government after many months sought to 

88 The War and Humanity 

draw, between different classes of "liners." The 
German Government in its note of May 5 th had 
attempted to convey the impression that the 
assurance which it gave on September i, 19 15, 
through Ambassador Bemstorff, only had refer- 
ence to large passenger liners and did not give 
immunity to the ordinary freight vessels of 
belligerent countries. 

In determining how far this distinction is justi- 
fied, the dispassionate neutral will consider what is 
fairly implied in the meaning of the word "liner" 
and what impression was sought to be conveyed 
to the American Government by the use of that 

The original use of this word applied to any 
merchant vessel which was large enough to be 
utilized in war in the line of battle; hence the 
word "liner." This meaning, however, is obso- 
lete, and a liner now means any vessel which sails 
for any commercial purpose with reasonable regu- 
larity and as a part of recognized commerce. 
Thus, we speak of trans-Atlantic liners and coast- 
wise liners; of passenger liners and freight liners. 
We would not call a gentleman's private yacht 
a liner, but any boat, whether it carries passengers 
or not, which sails upon schedule routes between 
ports and upon whose sailings the business world 

The Submarine Controversy 89 

relies, is a liner, whether it carries passengers or 
crosses the ocean or not. 

Before Bernstorff gave his pledge of September 
1st, that "liners" should not be sunk, vessels of 
different classes had been sunk. While the 
Lusitania was one of the great trans-Atlantic 
passenger liners, other boats, which had been the 
subject of the diplomatic protests, were mere 
freight carriers, and the protests of the United 
States had reference to both classes. The Ger- 
man Foreign Office had given its assurance that 
"liners" should not be sunk, and in the absence 
of some restrictive definition or other qualifica- 
tion, this could only mean that the vessels of com- 
merce of any class would not be sunk without 
complying with the rules of international law 
and this pledge was irrespective of the presence of 
the "liner" in or without the so-called war zone. 

When, therefore, the German Foreign Office in 
its note of May 5th denied that it had ever given 
any pledge with respect to enemy freight vessels 
in the war zone, it attempted a double quibble — 
a quibble on the word "liner" and a quibble 
on the locality of the sinking; and both quib- 
bles were unworthy of a great nation and a 
tragic subject. 

Thus more than eight months afterwards the 

90 The War and Humanity 

German Foreign Office disavows a pledge, pub- 
licly made in its name by its own Ambassador. 

The note of May 5th then contained a gratui- 
tously insulting sneer by suggesting its regret 
"that the sentiments of humanity, which the 
Government of the United States extends with 
such fervour to the unhappy victims of submarine 
warfare, are not extended with the same warmth 
of feeling" to the civilian population of Germany. 

It is true that the last note of the German Gov- 
ernment states that it has decided to make further 
concessions in the methods of submarine warfare, 
and renews its promises, subject to immediate cancel- 
lation without warning, to conform the activities of 
submarine warfare to international law both within 
and beyond the war zone, but what assurance can 
the United States have that these pledges will be 
better respected than their predecessors? How 
soon will the new condition arise, when, dissatisfied 
with America's dealing with Great Britain, Ger- 
many again murders its citizens on the high seas? 
For the present the pledge, caused by political con- 
siderations and the hope that America may pull 
diplomatic chestnuts out of the fire for Germany, 
may be sincere. But was this conditional and pos- 
sibly temporary concession the "disavowal" of the 
Lusitania, which was demanded for a year past ? 

The Submarine Controversy 91 

The Wilson Administration hastened to accept 
this conditional and in some respects insulting 
note and, while it rejected the implied conditions 
in vigorous and fitting terms, it swallowed the 
residue. At present writing both the State 
Department and the German Embassy are em- 
phatically denying that any " disavowal," such 
as the United States has insistently demanded, 
has either been made or accepted. It is now 
announced from Washington that the State De- 
partment is ready to resume the Lusitania nego- 
tiations. Nearly eighteen months gone and as 
yet neither disavowal nor atonement ! 

On the very heels of this announcement came 
the intelligence on the 9th of October, 191 6, that 
a German submarine, appearing in American 
waters beyond the three-mile limit, had sunk five 
merchant vessels. In each case an abrupt warn- 
ing was given and the submarine paused long 
enough before destroying the vessels to enable 
the passengers and crew to take to the life-boats. 
These vessels were sunk at distances from the 
mainland varying from forty miles to eighty miles. 
A typical instance was the sinking of the Stephana, 
a British vessel bound from Halifax, Nova Scotia, 
to New York. It contained ninety-four passengers, 
some of whom were American citizens and many 

92 The War and Humanity 

of whom were women and children. These pas- 
sengers were at dinner, when at eight o'clock on 
Sunday night October 8th, the Captain of the 
Stephano suddenly appeared and ordered them to 
take immediately to the boats, as the ship was to be 
sunk. The boats were launched and some of the 
women and children were lowered by ropes and 
others were obliged to descend by rope ladders. 
The boats were then cast adrift and their occu- 
pants, thus floating on the dark surface of the 
waters at least sixty miles from the nearest land, 
saw the lighted steamer go to its watery grave. 
They were rescued by an American torpedo de- 
stroyer about twenty minutes after the passengers 
had taken to the boats. 

As this book goes to press several weeks have 
elapsed and in that interval, although the Minister 
of Foreign Affairs for Holland has been swift to 
denounce the outrage, and the Government of 
Norway has forbidden access by submarines to 
its territorial waters, unless they remain on the 
surface and fly their flag, the Wilson Administra- 
tion has been silent, excepting the semi-official inti- 
mations given to the press, that it has not yet 
found in this new raid upon neutral commerce any 
departure from the rules of international law. 

This is the more surprising as in previous com- 

The Submarine Controversy 93 

munications the State Department was explicit 
in warning the German Government that it was 
as unjustifiable to jeopardize the lives of passen- 
gers as to sacrifice them, and that to put non-com- 
batants in a boat on the high seas, far from land, 
was such jeopardy. Mr. Wilson had emphasized 
this both in his second Lusitania note and in his 
Sussex note, as follows : 
On May 13, 1915, he said: 

The Government of the United States desires to 
call the attention of the Imperial German Govern- 
ment, with the utmost earnestness, to the fact that 
the objection to their present method of attack 
against the trade of their enemies lies in the prac- 
tical impossibility of employing submarines in the 
destruction of commerce without disregarding those 
rules of fairness, justice, and humanity which all 
modern opinion regards as imperative. It is virtu- 
ally impossible for the officers of a submarine to visit 
a merchantman at sea and examine her papers and 
cargo. It is virtually impossible for them to make a 
prize of her, and if they cannot put a prize crew on 
board of her they cannot sink her without leaving 
her crew and all on board of her to the mercy of the 
sea in her small boats. These facts, it is understood, 
the Imperial German Government frankly admits. 
We are informed that, in the instances of which we 
have spoken, time enough for even that poor meas- 
ure of safety was not given and, in at least two of 
the cases cited, not so much as a warning was re- 

94 The War and Humanity 

ceived. Manifestly submarines cannot he used against 
merchantmen, as the last few weeks have shown, with- 
out an inevitable violation of many sacred principles 
of justice and humanity. 

On April 19, 1916, he said: 

Again and again the Imperial Government has 
given its solemn assurances to the Government of 
the United States that at least passenger ships 
would not be thus dealt with, and yet it has re- 
peatedly permitted its undersea commanders to 
disregard those assurances with entire impunity. 
... It has become painfully evident that the 
position which it (the Government of the United 
States) took at the very outset is inevitable, namel5^ 
the use of submarines for the destruction of an enemy's 
commerce is, of necessity, because of the very character 
of the vessels employed and the very methods of attack, 
which their employment, of course, involves, utterly 
incompatible with the principles of humanity, the 
long-established and incontrovertible rights of neutrals 
and the sacred immunities of noncombatants . 

Unless the Imperial Government shall now im- 
mediately declare and effect an abandonment of its 
present methods of submarine warfare against pas- 
senger and freight-carrying vessels, the Government 
of the United States can have no choice but to 
sever diplomatic relations with the German Empire 

The German Government having thus sunk, al- 
most within our territorial waters, five ships, with 

The Submarine Controversy 95 

the " poor measure of safety " already denounced 
by the United States in its note of May 13, 191 5, 
as " utterly incompatible with the principles of 
humanity," the Wilson Administration, as this 
book goes to press, has again apparently acqui- 
esced in the precise mode of naval warfare which 
this Government has repeatedly denounced, a 
mode of warfare which differs in degree and not 
in kind from the methods of Buccaneers in the 
Spanish Main. 

Silent as to this fresh outrage, the Wilson Adminis- 
tration found in it a pretext for publishing a note, 
previously sent to the Allied Nations, warning them 
in substance that any destruction by their cruisers 
of an American submarine, on the mistaken sup- 
position that it was a hostile submarine, would 
be at their peril, and the further notice that 
American ports would not be closed to sub- 
marines, which within the limitations applicable 
to other war vessels, could therefore replenish their 
stores of fuel and food and obtain by the purchase 
of a newspaper all needed information as to the 
movements of merchant vessels. 

It may be suggested that the United States had 
little direct concern in this new submarine outrage, 
because all the destroyed vessels were of foreign 
registry. The United States, as every nation, has 

96 The War and Humanity 

a direct and vital stake in the preservation of 
international law. This common right and inter- 
est of all Powers in the law of nations was illus- 
trated in 1861, when Captain Wilkes, in violation 
of international law, took from the British steamer, 
the Trent, the two Commissioners from the Con- 
federate States. France and Prussia at once en- 
tered an emphatic protest against this course. 
Both nations regarded the seizure of Mason and 
Slidell as in violation of international law, the 
common heritage of civilization. 

The note of Prussia, dated December 25, 1861, 
was signed by Count Bemstorff, who the author 
understands is the father of the present Ambas- 
sador to the United States. His clear assertion 
of the right and duty of every civilized nation to 
protest against any palpable invasion of inter- 
national law, even though such nation is not 
directly interested in the particular transaction, is 
interesting and may be profitably commended to 
those Americans who feel that the United States 
had no such direct interest in the invasion of Bel- 
gium as justified the exercise of its moral authority 
by way of protest. The elder Bemstorff said: 

This occurrence, as you can well imagine, has 
produced in England and throughout Europe the 
most profound sensation, and thrown not Cabinets 

The Submarine Controversy 97 

only, but also public opinion, into a state of the 
most excited expectation. For, although at pre- 
sent it is England only which is immediately con- 
cerned in the matter, yet, on the other hand, it is 
one of the most important and universally recog- 
nized rights of the neutral flag which has been 
called into question. 

I need not here enter into a discussion of the 
legal side of the question. Public opinion in 
Europe has, with singular unanimity, pronounced 
in the most positive manner for the injured party. 
As far as we are concerned, we have hitherto ab- 
stained from expressing ourselves to you upon the 
subject, because in the absence of any reliable in- 
formation we were in doubt as to whether the 
Captain of the San Jacinto, in the course taken by 
him, had been acting under orders from his Gov- 
ernment or not. Even now we prefer to assume 
that the latter was the case. Should the former 
supposition, however, turn out to be the correct 
one, we should consider ourselves under the neces- 
sity of attributing greater importance to the 
occurrence, and to our great regret we should find 
ourselves constrained to see in it not an isolated 
fact but a public menace offered to the existing 
rights of all neutrals. 

"Remember the Maine** was once a rallying 
cry of potent force; and it awakened in the soul 
of a proud people the passionate resolve to end 
forever the misrule of Cuba. 

"Remember the Lusitania!" Yes; it, too, will 

98 The War and Humanity 

be remembered by the American people — not with 
a proud consciousness of a work well done, but 
with the humiliating recollection of a great work 
for humanity left undone through the supine in- 
action and timid counsels of those officials, to 
whom the dignity and honour of the Republic 
were for the time being committed. 




" The murderer has but one hour, 
The viciim has eternity." 

— Lamartine. 




Those who have regarded the Supreme Court 
of Civilization — meaning thereby the moral senti- 
ment of the world — as a mere rhetorical phrase or 
an idle illusion should take note how swiftly that 
court — sitting now as one of criminal assize — has 
pronounced sentence upon the murderers of Edith 
Cavell. The swift vengeance of the world's opin- 
ion has called these criminals to the bar, and 
in executing them with the lightning of universal 
execration has forever degraded them. 

The World Court of Public Opinion is in no 
doubt as to the fact or gravity of the crime, but as 
yet it has not been able with complete accuracy 
to apportion the relative responsibility of those 
who participated in this foul murder. This is due 
to the fact that the German Government has not 
disclosed to the world the exact nature of its 
military Government in Belgium. 

It is generally known that General Baron von 
Bissing is the CivQ Governor of Belgium, but as 


102 The War and Humanity 

the entire government is in its nature a military 
one, little comfort can be drawn from the adminis- 
trative distinction which the German Government 
draws on occasion between the acts of von Bissing, 
as the Civil Governor of Belgium, and General 
von Sauberzweig as the Military Governor. The 
higher authority in Belgium is von Bissing, 
but the extent to which the Military Governor 
is subject to him is unknown except to the 
General Staff. 

When the world called to the bar of public opin- 
ion the murderers of Edith Cavell, the Kaiser sum- 
moned von Bissing to the Imperial headquarters 
to explain the nature of the tragedy. It was 
therefore not unnatural that the world visited the 
whole responsibility of the tragedy upon von 
Bissing; but it is possible that he may have 
received more than his due share of the obloquy, 
for while the civil government of Belgium is in his 
keeping, purely military measures are apparently 
under the control of General von Sauberzweig, 
whose signature to the findings of the alleged 
judicial court finally condemned Edith Cavell to 

Von Bissing, however, cannot escape some share 
of the obloquy by claiming that it was not within 
his province to revise the sentence pronounced by 

The Case of Edith Cavell 103 

von Sauberzweig, for as will hereafter appear, the 
American Legation earnestly pleaded with his sub- 
ordinate, Baron von der Lancken, who was in 
charge of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to 
telephone or telegraph the Kaiser, and von der 
Lancken, in behalf of von Bissing, refused to do 
this, upon the false pretence that even the Kaiser 
could not override the finding of the Military Tri- 
bunal, as finally sanctioned by von Sauberzweig. 
Von Bissing's part in the crime may therefore be 
no greater than that of Pilate, who sought to wash 
his hands of innocent blood ; but von Sauberzweig 
will enjoy "until the last syllable of recorded time " 
the unenviable fame of Judge Jeffreys. He, too, 
was an able judge and probably believed that he 
was executing justice, but because he did not exe- 
cute it in mercy, but with a ferocity that has made 
his name a synonym for judicial tyranny, the world 
has condemned him to lasting infamy, and this 
notwithstanding the fact that he was made Chief 
Justice of the King's Bench, Lord High Chancellor 
of England, and a peer of the realm. All these 
titles are forgotten. Only that of "Bloody 
Jeffreys" remains. 

Similarly, if his master shall be pleased to honour 
General von Sauberzweig with the iron cross for 
his action in the case of Miss Cavell, as the Kaiser 

104 The War and Humanity 

honored the Captain of the submarine which 
destroyed the Lusitania — and what order could be 
more appropriate in both cases than the Cross, 
which recalls how another innocent victim of 
judicial tyranny was sacrificed? — then even the 
Order of the Iron Cross will not save von Sau- 
berzweig from lasting obloquy. 

I do not question that he acted according to 
his lights and shared with Dr. Alfred Zimmer- 
mann great "surprise" that the world should 
make such a sensation about the murder of 
one woman. Trajan once said that the posses- 
sion of absolute power had a tendency to trans- 
form even the most humane man into a wild 
beast. Judge Black in his great argument in 
the case of ex parte Milligan recalled the fact that 
Robespierre in his early life resigned his commis- 
sion as Judge rather than pronounce the sentence 
of death, and that Caligula passed as a very ami- 
able young man before he assumed the imperial 
purple. The story is as old as humanity that the 
appetite for blood or at least the habit of murder 
"grows by what it feeds upon. " 

The murder of Miss Cavell was one of excep- 
tional brutality and stupidity. It never occurred 
to her judges that her murder would add an army 
corps to the forces of the Allies and that every 

The Case of Edith Cavell 105 

English soldier would fight more bravely because 
of her shining example. So little was this appre- 
ciated either in Brussels or Berlin that the Ger- 
man Foreign Office, in its official apology for the 
crime, issued over the signature of Doctor Alfred 
Zimmermann, Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs, 
expresses its surprise 

that the shooting of an Englishwoman and the con- 
demnation of several women in Brussels for treason 
have caused a sensation.^ 

What extraordinary moral naivete ! How could 
they appreciate that after the firing squad had done 
its work and the body of the woman had been given 
hasty burial the victim's virtues would 

plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against 
The deep damnation of [her] taking off; 
And pity, like a naked new-born babe, 
Striding the blast, or Heaven's cherubim, horsed 
Upon the sightless couriers of the air. 
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, 
That tears shall drown the wind. 

This happened with incredible rapidity, and 
the Kaiser made haste to commute the sentences 
of the eight other intended victims — two of them 

' Dr. Zimmermann's defence of the Cavell execution is printed 
in full as an appendix to this article on p. 295 et seq. 

io6 The War and Humanity 

being also women — and the Berlin Foreign Office 
also issued to the world its defence of its action. 

It began with an expression of "pity that Miss 
Cavell had to be executed," but the sincerity of 
this pity can be measured by the fact that con- 
currently with Dr. Zimmermann's official apology 
there came from Berlin an "inspired" supple- 
mental explanation, which sought to depreciate 
the character and services of the dead nurse, 
referred to by Dr. Zimmermann as "the Cavell 
woman" by stating "that she earned a living by 
nursing, charging fees within the means of the 
wealthy only. " 

The world has an abundant refutation of this 
cruel and cowardly slur upon the memory of a 
dead woman, for one who first hazarded her life 
and then gave it freely to save the lives of others 
— for such was the charge for which she died — 
is not a woman to restrict her gracious ministra- 
tions of mercy for mercenary motives. 

The Kaiser was swift to see the deadly injury 
to his cause of this latest evidence of military 
tyranny. Not only did he commute the sen- 
tences of Miss Cavell's alleged accomplices — as if 
to say with Macbeth, "Thou canst not say I did 
it" — but he summoned von Bissing to explain 
their actions in the matter, but as the Kaiser 

The Case of Edith Cavell 107 

is responsible for 'the invasion of Belgium and 
has hitherto condoned its attendant horrors, he 
can no more absolve himself from some share 
of responsibility than could Macbeth disavow his 
responsibility for the deeds of his two hirelings. 

The literary analogy is justified. When the 
author witnessed, in the summer of 191 6, the 
battlefield of the Somme and saw the prodigious 
British artillery largely concealed by trees and 
bushes, he thought that Macbeth' s miracle had 
indeed come to pass, for "Bimam wood had come 
to Dunsinane." 

The stain of this murder rests upon Prussian 
militarism and not upon the German people, for it 
should not be forgotten that possibly the most 
chivalrous act, which has happened since the 
beginning of the war, was the erection by a German 
community, where a detention camp was main- 
tained, of a statue to the French and English 
soldiers who had died in captivity, with the beauti- 
ful inscription : 

To our Comrades, who here died for their dear 

What could be more chivalrous or present a 
greater contrast to the assassination of Miss 

io8 The War and Humanity 

We are advised by Dr. Zimmermann that Miss 
Cavell was given a fair trial and was justly con- 
victed, but as the proceedings of the trial were not 
public and as Miss Cavell was denied knowledge 
in advance of the trial of the nature of the charges 
against her, and as we know little of the circum- 
stances of her alleged offence except the reports of her 
judges and executioners, the world will be somewhat 
incredulous as to whether the trial was as just to 
the accused as Dr. Zimmermann would have us 

The difficulty with this assurance is that 
the German conception of what is a fair trial 
differs from that which prevails in Anglo-Saxon 
countries, just as the German word "Gerech- 
tigkeit" does not convey the same mental or 
moral conception as the English word "justice," 
or "Freiheit" the same meaning as "liberty." 
" Gerechtigkeit " means little more than the 
exercise of the power of the State, and in its 
sanction finds its moral authority. In England, 
France, and the United States the idea of justice 
is that an individual has certain fundamental and 
inalienable rights, which even the State cannot 
override, and none of these fundamental rights 
has been more highly valued in the evolution 
of English liberty than the rights of a defend- 

The Case of Edith Cavell 109 

ant charged with crime. Whether guilty or not 
guilty, he cannot be arrested without a judicial 
warrant on proof of probable cause; he may not 
be compelled to testify against himself; he is en- 
titled to a speedy trial and shall be informed in 
advance thereof of the exact nature of the accusa- 
tion; his trial shall be public and open, and he shall 
be confronted with the witnesses against him and 
have compulsory process for his own defence; in 
advance of trial he shall have permission to select 
his own counsel, and shall have the opportunity 
to confer freely with him. 

Most of these fundamental rights were denied 
to Miss Cavell. 

It is difficult to understand why, in view of 
the policy of terrorism, which has prevailed in 
Belgium from the time that the invader first 
crossed its frontier, the justice of the execution 
should require any discussion in Herr Zimmer- 
mann's defence. In the official textbook of the 
General Staff of the German Army the definite 
policy of terrorizing a conquered country is pro- 
claimed as a military theory. Its leading axiom 
is there stated by boldly claiming that 

a war conducted with energy cannot be directed 
merely against the combatants of the enemy State 
and the positions they occupy, but il will and must in 

no The War and Humanity 

like manner seek to destroy the total intellectual and 
material resources of the latter. Humanitarian 
claims, such as the protection of men and their 
goods, can only be taken into consideration in so 
far as the nature and object of the war permit. 
Consequently the argument of war permits every 
belligerent State to have recourse to all means which 
enable it to obtain the object of the war. 

Miss Cavell's fate only differs from that of 
hundreds of Belgian women and children in that 
she had the pretence of a trial and presumably 
had trespassed against military law, while other 
victims of the rape of Belgium were ruthlessly 
killed in order to effect a speedy subjugation of the 
territory. The question of the guilt or innocence 
of each individual was a matter of no importance. 
Hostages were taken and ruthlessly shot for the 
alleged wrongs of others. 

Did not General von Bulow on August 226. 
announce to the inhabitants of Liege that 

it is with my consent that the General in command 
has burned down the place [Ardenne] and shot about 
one hundred inhabitants. 

It was this distinguished General who posted 
a proclamation at Namur on August 25th as 
follows : 

The Case of Edith Cavell iii 

Before 4 o'clock all Belgian and French prisoners 
are to be delivered up as prisoners of war. Citizens 
who do not obey this will be condemned to hard 
labour for life in Germany. At 4 o'clock a rigorous 
inspection of all houses will be made. Every soldier 
found will he shot. . . . The streets will be held by 
German guards, who will hold ten hostages for each 
street. These hostages will be shot if there is any 
trouble in that street. ... A crime against the 
German Army will compromise the existence of the 
whole town of Namur and every one in it. 

Did not Field Marshal von der Goltz issue a 
proclamation in Brussels, on October 5th, stating 
that if any individual disturbed the telegraphic or 
railway communications, all the inhabitants would 
be ''punished without pity, the innocent suffering 
with the guilty'''^. 

Individual guilt being thus a matter of minor 
importance. Dr. Zimmermann had no occasion 
on the accepted theory of Prussian miUtarism 
to justify the secret trial and midnight execution 
of Edith Cavell. 

Indeed, he freely intimates that his Govern- 
ment will not spare women, no matter how high 
and noble the motive may have been which 
inspires any infraction of military law, and to 
this sweeping statement he makes but one 
exception, namely, that women "in a delicate 
condition may not be executed." But why the 

112 The War and Humanity 

exception? If it be permitted to destroy one life 
for the welfare of the miUtary administration of 
Belgium, why stop at two? If the innocent living 
are to be sacrificed, why spare the unborn? The 
exception itself shows that the rigour of military 
law must have some limitation, and that its rigid 
demands must be softened by a discretion dictated 
by such considerations of chivalry and magnanim- 
ity as have hitherto been observed by all civilized 

If the victim of yesterday had been an "ex- 
pectant mother," Dr. Zimmermann suggests that 
her judges and executioners would have spared 
her, but no such exception can be found in the 
Prussian military code. "It is not so nominated 
in the bond, " and the Under Secretary's recogni- 
tion of one exception, based upon considerations 
of humanity and not the letter of the military code, 
destroys the whole fabric of his case, for it clearly 
shows that there was a power of discretion which could 
have been exercised, if they had so elected. 

That her case had its claims not only to mag- 
nanimity, but even to military justice, is shown 
by the haste with which, in the teeth of every 
protest, the unfortunate woman was hurried to 
her end. Sentenced at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, 
she was executed nine hours later. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 113 

Of what were her judges and executioners afraid ? 
She was in their custody. Her power to help her 
country — save by dying — was forever at an end. 
The hot haste of her execution and the ^dupHcity 
and secrecy which attended it betray an unmistak- 
able fear that if her life had been spared until the 
world could have known of her death sentence, 
pubHc opinion would have prevented this cruel 
and cowardly deed. The laboured apology of 
Dr. Zimmermann and the swift action of the 
Kaiser in remitting the death sentence to those 
who were condemned with Miss Cavell indi- 
cate that the Prussian officials have heard the 
beating of the wings of those avenging angels 
of history who, Hke the Eumenides of classic 
mythology, are the avengers of the innocent 
and the oppressed. 

Greatness [wrote ^schylus], is no defence from 
utter destruction when a man insolently spurns the 
mighty altar of justice. 

This is as true today as when it was written 
more than two thousand years ago. It is but 
a classic echo of the old Hebraic moral axiom 
that "the Lord God of recompenses shall surely 

The most powerful and self-willed ruler of mod- 
em times learned this lesson to his cost. Pro- 

114 The War and Humanity 

bably no two instances contributed so powerfully 
to the ultimate downfall of Napoleon as his ruth- 
less assassination under the forms of military law 
of the Duke d'Enghien and the equally brutal 
murder of the German bookseller, Palm. The one 
aroused the undying enmity of Russia, and the 
blood that was shed in the moat of Vincennes 
was washed out in the icy waters of the Beresina. 
The fate of the poor German bookseller, whom 
Napoleon caused to be shot because his writing 
menaced the security of French occupation, de- 
veloped as no other event the dormant spirit of 
German nationality, and the Nuremberg book- 
seller, shot precisely as was Miss Cavell, was finally 
avenged when Blucher gave Napoleon the coup 
de grdce at Waterloo. No one more clearly felt 
the invisible presence of his Nemesis than did 
Napoleon. All his life, and even in his confinement 
at St. Helena, he was ceaselessly attempting to 
justify to the moral conscience of the world his 
ruthless assassination of the last Prince of the 
House of Conde. 

The terrible judgment of history was never 
better expressed than by Lamartine in the fol- 
lowing language: 

A cold curiosity carries the visitor to the battle- 
fields of Marengo, Austerlitz, Wagram, Leipsic, 

The Case of Edith Cavell 115 

Waterloo; he wanders over them with dry eyes, but 
one is shown at a comer of the wall near the founda- 
tions of Vincennes, at the bottom of a ditch, a spot 
covered with nettles and weeds. He says, "There 
it is!" He utters a cry and carries away with him 
undying pity for the victim and an implacable 
resentment against the assassin. This resentment 
is vengeance for the past and a lesson for the future. 
Let the ambitions, whether soldiers, tribunes, or kings, 
remember that if they have hirelings to do their will, and 
flatterers to excuse them while they reign, there yet 
comes afterward a human conscience to judge them and 
pity to hate them. The murderer has but one hour; 
the victim has eternity. 

At the outbreak of the war, Miss Cavell was 
living with her aged mother in England. Con- 
strained by a noble and imperious sense of duty, 
she exchanged the security of her native country 
for her post of danger in Brussels. "My duty 
is there," she said simply. 

She reached Brussels in August, 19 14, and at 
once commenced her humanitarian work. When 
the German Army entered the gates of Brussels, she 
called upon Governor von Luttwitz and placed her 
staff of nurses at the services of the wounded under 
whatever flag they had fought. The services 
which she and her staff of nurses rendered many a 
wounded and dying German should have earned 
for her the generous consideration of the invader. 

ii6 The War and Humanity 

But early in these ministrations of mercy she 
was obliged by the noblest of humanitarian motives 
to antagonize the German invaders. Governor 
von Luttwitz demanded of her that all nurses 
should give formal undertakings, when treating 
wounded French or Belgian soldiers, to act as 
gaolers to their patients, but Miss Cavell answered 
this unreasonable demand by simply saying: 
"We are prepared to do all that we can to help 
wounded soldiers to recover, but to be their 
gaolers — never." 

On another occasion when appealing to a 
German brigadier-general on behalf of some 
homeless women and children, the Prussian marti- 
net — half pedant and half poltroon — answered her 
with a quotation from Nietzsche to the effect that 
"Pity is a waste of feeling — a moral parasite in- 
jurious to the health." 

She early felt the cruel and iron will of the 
conqueror, but, nothing daunted, she proceeded 
in her arduous work, supervised the work of 
three hospitals, gave six lectures on nursing a 
week, and responded to many urgent appeals 
of individuals who were in need of immediate 

When one of her associates, Miss Mary Boyle 
O'Reilly, who has recently contributed a moving 

The Case of Edith Cavell 117 

account of Miss Cavell's work, was expelled 
from Belgium, she begged Miss Cavell to take the 
opportunity, while it presented itself, to leave that 
land of horror, and Miss Cavell, with character- 
istic bravery, replied: "Impossible, my friend, 
my duty is here." 

It was probably in connection with this hu- 
manitarian work that she violated the German 
military law by giving refuge to fugitive French 
and Belgian soldiers until such time as they could 
escape across the frontier to Holland. For this 
she suffered the penalty of death, and the validity 
of this sentence, even under Prussian military law, 
I will discuss later. It is enough to say that no 
instinct is so natural in every man and woman, 
and especially in woman with the maternal in- 
stinct characteristic of the sex, than to give a 
harbour of refuge to the helpless. All nations 
have respected this instinctive feeling as one of the 
redeeming traits of human nature, and the history 
of war, at least in modem times, can be searched 
in vain for any instance in which any one, especially 
a woman, has been condemned to death for yield- 
ing to the humanitarian impulse of giving tempo- 
rary refuge to a fugitive soldier. Such an act is 
neither espionage nor treason, as those terms have 
been ordinarily understood in civilized countries. 

ii8 The War and Humanity 

It is true, as suggested by a few in America, 
who sought to excuse the Cavell crime, that Mrs. 
Surratt was tried, condemned, and executed be- 
cause she had permitte4 the band of assassins, 
whose conspiracy resulted in the assassination of 
Lincoln and the attempted murder of Secretary 
Seward, to hold their meetings in her house; but 
the difference between this alleged conscious 
participation in the assassination of the head 
of the State, in a period of civil war, and the 
humanitarian aid which Miss Cavell gave to 
fugitive soldiers to save them from capture or 
possibly to effect their escape, is manifest. I am 
assuming that Miss Cavell did give such pro- 
tection to her compatriots, for all accessible 
information supports this view, and if so, how- 
ever commendable her motive and heroic her 
conduct, she was guilty of an infraction of mili- 
tary law, which justified some punishment and 
possibly her forcible detention during the period 
of the war. 

To regard her execution for this offence as an 
ordinary incident of war is an affront to civiliza- 
tion, and as it is symptomatic of the Prussian oc- 
cupation of Belgium and not a sporadic incident, 
it acquires a significance which justifies a full recital 
of this black chapter of Prussianism. It illustrates 

The Case of Edith Cavell 119 

the reign of terror which has existed in Belgium 
since the German occupation. 

When the German Chancellor made his famous 
speech in the Reichstag on August 4, 19 14, and 
admitted at the bar of the world the crime which 
was then being initiated, he said : 

The wrong — I speak openly — that we are com- 
mitting we will endeavour to make good as soon 
as our military goal has been reached. 

Within a few weeks the military goal was reached 
by the seizure of practically all of Belgium and by 
the voluntary surrender of Brussels to the invader, 
and since then, for a period of over tw^o years, 
the Belgian people have been subjected to a 
state of tyranny for which we must turn to find 
a parallel to the history of the Netherlands in 
the sixteenth century and recall its occupation 
by the Duke of Alva. It must be said in can- 
dour that the Prussian occupation of Belgium 
has not yet caused as many victims as the 
"Bloody Council" of the Duke of Alva, for 
the estimated number of non-combatants, who 
have been shot in Belgium during the last fourteen 
months, is only 6000 as against the 18,000 whom 
it is estimated the Spanish General put to death. 
It may also be the fact that the present oppres- 

120 The War and Humanity 

sion of Belgium is marked by some approach to the 
forms of law; but it may be doubted whether the 
difference is not more in appearance than in reality, 
for the administration of law in Belgium has been 
a mockery. Of this there can be no more striking 
or detailed proof than the protest which was pre- 
sented to the German authorities on February 
17, 1915, by M. Leon Theodor, the head of the 
Brussels bar. The truth of this formal accusation 
may be fairly measured by the strong probability 
that the brave leader of the Brussels bar would 
never have ventured to have made the statements 
hereinafter referred to to the German Military 
Governor unless he was reasonably sure of his 
facts. What he said on behalf of the bar of Brus- 
sels was said in the shadow of possible death, and 
if he had consciously or deliberately maligned the 
Prussian administration of justice in this open and 
specific manner, he assuredly took his life into his 
hands. This brave and noble document will for- 
ever remain one of the gravest indictments of 
Prussian misrule and as it states, on the authority 
of one who was in a position to know, the details 
of the savage tyranny which masqueraded under 
the forms of law, a part of it may be profitably 

After stating the fact "that everything about 

The Case of Edith Cavell 121 

the German judicial organization in Belgium is 
contrary to the principles of law, " and after show- 
ing that Belgian civilians were punished for viola- 
tions of law, which had never been proclaimed 
and of which, therefore, the condemned knew noth- 
ing, the distinguished President of the Order of 
Advocates says: 

This absence of certainty is not only the negation of 
all the principles of law; it weighs on the mind and on 
the conscience; it bewilders one, it seems to be a per- 
manent menace for all, and the danger is all the more 
real, because these courts permit neither public nor 
defensive procedure, nor do they permit the accused to 
receive any communication regarding his case, nor is 
any right of defence assured him. 

This is arbitrary injustice; the Judge left to him- 
self, that is, to his impressions, his prejudices, and 
his surroundings. This is abandoning the accused 
in his distress, to grapple alone with his all-powerful 

This justice, uncontrolled, and consequently with- 
out guarantee, constitutes for us the most dangerous 
and oppressive of illegalities. We cannot conceive 
justice as a judicial or moral possibility without free 

Free defence, that is, light thrown on all the 
elements of the suit; public sentiment being heard in 
the bosom of the judgment hall, the right to say 
everything in the most respectful manner, and also 
the courage to dare everything, these must be put 
at the service of the unfortunate one, of justice and 

122 The War and Humanity 

law. It is one of the greatest conquests of our his- 
tory. It is the keystone of our individual liberty. 

What are your sources of information? 

Besides the judges, the men of the Secret Service 
and the denouncers (in French : delateurs) . 

The Secret Service men in civilian clothes, not 
bearing any insignia, mixing with the crowds in the 
street, in the cafds, on the platforms of street cars, 
listen to the conversations carried on around them, 
ready to grasp any secret, on the watch not only for 
acts but for intentions. 

These denouncers of our nation are ever multiply- 
ing. What confidence can be placed in their declara- 
tions, inspired by hate, spite, or low cupidity? Such 
assistants can bring to the cause of justice no useful 

If we add to this total absence of control and of 
defence, these preventive arrests, the long detentions, 
the searches in the private domiciles, we will have 
an almost complete idea of the moral tortures to which 
our aspirations, our convictions, and our liberties 
are subjected at the present time. . . . 

Will it be said that we are living under martial 
law; that we are submitting to the hard necessities 
of war; that all should give way before the superior 
interests of your armies? 

/ can understand martial law for armies in the 
field. It is the immediate reply to an aggression 
against the troops, repression without words, the sum- 
mary justice of the commander of the army responsible 
for his soldiers. But our armies are far away; we 
are no longer in the zone of military operations. 
Nothing here menaces your troops, the inhabitants 
are calm. ; 

The Case of Edith Cavell 123 

The people have taken up work again. You 
have bidden them do it. Each one devotes himself, 
magistrates, judges, officials of the provinces and 
cities, the clergy, all are at their post, united in one 
outburst of national interest and brotherhood. 

However, this does not mean that they have 
forgotten. The Belgian people lived happily in their 
corner of the earth, confident in their dream of in- 
dependence. They saw this dream dispelled, they 
saw their country ruined and devastated, its an- 
cient hospitable soil has been sown with thousands of 
tombs where our own sleep ; the war has made tears 
flow which no hand can dry. No, the murdered soid 
of Belgium will never forget. 

As this dignified and noble protest did not lead 
to any amelioration of the harsh conditions, a 
month later the same brave jurist, M. Leon 
Theodor, appeared in Brussels before the so-called 
"German Court of Justice" and, in behalf of the 
entire Magistracy of Belgium, addressed to the 
Prussian Military Judges the following poignantly 
pathetic and nobly dignified address, which 
met with a like reception as the preceding 

I present myself at the Bar, escorted by the 
Counsel of the Order, surrounded by the sympathy 
and the confidence of all my colleagues of Brussels, 
and I might add of all the Bars of the country. The 
Bars of Li^ge, Ghent, Charleroi, Mons, Louvain, 

124 The War and Humanity 

Antwerp have sent to that of Brussels the expression 
of their professional solidarity and have declared 
that they adhere to the resolutions taken by the 
Counsel of the Order of Brussels. . . . 

We are not annexed. We are not conquered. 
We are not even vanquished. Our army is fighting. 
Our colours float alongside those of France, Eng- 
land, and Russia. The country subsists. She is 
simply unfortunate. More than ever, then, we now 
owe ourselves to her body and soul. To defend 
her rights is also to fight for her. 

We are living hours now as tragic as any country 
has ever known. All is destruction and ruin 
around us. Everywhere we see mourning. Our 
army has lost half of its effective force. Its per- 
centage in dead and wounded will never be obtained 
by any of the belligerents. There remains to us 
only a corner of ground over there by the sea. The 
waters of the Yser flow through an immense plain 
peopled by the dead. It is called the Belgian 
Cemetery. There sleep our children by the 
thousands. There they are sleeping their last 
sleep. The struggle goes on bitterly and without 

Your sons, Mr. President, are at the front; mine 
as well. For months we have been living in anxiety 
regarding the morrow. 

Why these sacrifices, why this sorrow? Belgium 
could have avoided these disasters, saved her existence, 
her treasures, and the lives of her children, but she pre- 
f erred her honour. 

Not long after this second protest, M. Leon 

The Case of Edith Cavell 125 

Theodor was arrested and deported to Germany, 
for the offence of defending the oppressed civiHan 
population from a system of espionage, drumhead 
courts-martial, and secret executions. 

It is said that he has since been released through 
the intercession of the King of Spain. 

It was in this manner that the solemn promise 
of the German Chancellor that his country would 
make good the wrong done to Belgium has been 

Such was the condition of affairs in Belgium 
when Edith Cavell was arrested on August 5, 


About the same time some thirty-five other 
prisoners were similarly arrested by the military 
authorities, two-thirds of whom were women. 

The arrest was evidently a secret one, for it 
is obvious that for a time Miss Cavell's friends 
knew nothing of her whereabouts. Even the 
American Legation, which had assumed the care 
of British citizens in Belgium, apparently knew 
nothing of Miss Cavell's arrest until it learned 
after a second inquiry the fact and the place 
of her imprisonment from the German Civil Gov- 
ernor of Belgium on September 12, 19 15. 

As Miss Cavell was a well-known personage 
in Brussels, it is improbable that these facts would 

126 The War and Humanity 

have been unknown to the American Legation 
in Brussels if they had been a matter of public 
information on August the 5th or shortly there- 

Evidently some information had reached the 
British Foreign Office as to Miss Cavell's disap- 
pearance, for on August the 26th Sir Edward Grey 
requested the American Ambassador in London to 
ascertain through the American Legation in Brus- 
sels whether it was true that Miss Cavell had 
been arrested, and it seems clear from the diplo- 
matic correspondence that the American Legation 
at Brussels knew nothing of the matter until it 
received this inquiry from the American Am- 
bassador in London. The fact of her arrest by 
the German military authorities may have been 
known, but the place of her imprisonment and the 
nature of the charges against her were apparently 

This feature of the case and the manner in which 
Mr. Brand Whitlock, the American Minister, was 
prevented from rendering any effective aid to Miss 
Cavell presents one aspect of the tragedy which 
especially concerns the honour and dignity of the 
United States. 

Her secret trial and hurried execution was a 
clear affront to the American Minister at 

The Case of Edith Cavell 127 

Brussels, and therefore to the American nation. 
It is true that in all he did to save her life he 
was acting in behalf of and for the benefit of 
Great Britain, whose interests the United States 
Government has taken over in Belgium; but 
this cannot affect the fact that when Mr. Whit- 
lock intervened in behalf of the prisoner, sought 
to secure her a fair trial, and especially when 
he asked her life as a reciprocal favour for the 
services his nation had rendered Germany and 
German subjects in the earlier days of the war, 
he spoke in fact, if not in theory, as an American 
and as the diplomatic representative of the United 

So secret was Miss Cavell's arrest and so sinister 
the methods whereby her end was compassed that 
the American Minister in Belgium was obliged to 
write on August 31st to Baron von der Lancken, 
as the representative in diplomatic matters of von 
Bissing, the German Civil Governor of Belgium, 
and ask whether it was true that she was 
under arrest. To this no reply was promptly 
vouchsafed, although it was clearly a matter of life 
and death. 

The discourtesy of such silence to a great and 
friendly nation needs no comment. 

Not hearing from Baron von der Lancken, our 

128 The War and Humanity 

Minister on September loth, again wrote to him 
and again asked for a reply. Mr. Whitlock asked 
for the opportunity "/o take up the defence of Miss 
Cavell with the least possible delay. " To this, 
Baron von der Lancken replied by an ex parte 
statement that Miss Cavell had admitted 

having concealed in her house various English 
and French soldiers, as well as Belgians of military 
age, all anxious to proceed to the front. She also 
acknowledged having supplied these soldiers with 
the funds necessary to proceed to the front and 
having facilitated their departure from Belgium 
by finding guides to assist them In clandestinely 
crossing the frontier. 

The Baron further answered that her defence 
had been intrusted to an advocate by the name 
of Braun, ''who is already in touch with the proper 
German authorities, " and added: 

In view of the fact that the Department of the 
Governor General as a matter of principle does not 
allow accused persons to have any Interviews what- 
ever, I must regret my Inability to procure for M. 
de Leval permission to visit Miss Cavell, as long 
as she Is in solitary confinement. 

M. de Leval was a Belgian lawyer and the offi- 
cial legal adviser of the American Legation. His 
attempt to save Miss Cavell, as will hereafter ap- 
pear, was worthy of all praise. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 129 

It will thus be seen and will hereafter appear 
more fully that in advance of her trial Miss Cavell 
was kept in solitary confinement and was denied 
any opportunity to confer with counsel in order 
to prepare her defence. Her communication with 
the outside world was wholly cut off, with the 
exception of a few letters, which she was permitted 
to write under censorship to her assistants in the 
school for nurses, and it is probable that in this 
way the fact of her imprisonment first became 
known to her friends. 

The fact remains that the desire of the American 
Minister to have its counsel see her with a view to 
the selection of such counsel as Miss Cavell might 
desire, was refused and even the counsel, whom the 
German Military Government permitted to act, 
was denied any opportunity to see his client until 
the trial. 

The counsel in question was a M. Braun, a 
Belgian advocate of recognized standing, but for 
some reason, which does not appear, he was unable 
or declined to act for Miss Cavell and he secured 
for her defence another Belgian lawyer, whose 
name was Kirschen. According to credible in- 
formation, Kirschen was a Roumanian by birth, 
although a naturalized Belgian subject and a 
member of the Brussels bar, but it will hereafter 

130 The War and Humanity 

appear that the steps which he took to keep the 
American Legation — the one possible salvation 
for Miss Cavell — advised as to the progress of 
events, was to say the least peculiar. It is said 
that he had been a legal adviser of the German 
Legation in Brussels before the war. 

Except the explanations made by the German 
Civil Government, we know very little as to what 
defence, if any, Miss Cavell made. From one of 
the inspired sources comes the statement that she 
freely admitted her guilt, and from her last inter- 
view with the English clergyman it would appear 
that she probably did admit some infraction of 
military law. But from another German source 
we learn the following: 

During the trial in the Senate Chamber the ac- 
cused, almost without exception, gave the impres- 
sion of persons cleverly simulating naive innocence. 
It was not a mere coincidence that two thirds of the 
accused were women. The Englishwoman, Edith 
Cavell, who has already been executed, declared 
that she had believed as an Englishwoman that she 
ought to do her country service hy giving lodgings in 
her house to soldiers and recruits who were in peril. 
She naturally denied that she had drawn other 
people into destruction by inducing them to har- 
bour refugees when her own institute was overtaxed. 

From this meagre information we can only infer 

The Case of Edith Cavell 131 

that Miss Cavell did admit that she had sheltered 
some soldiers and recniits who were in peril, and 
while this undoubtedly constituted a grave in- 
fraction of military law, yet it does not present in a 
locality far removed from the actual war zone a 
case either of espionage or high treason, and is of 
that class of offences which have always been 
punished on the highest considerations of humanity 
and chivalry with great moderation. 

The difficulty is that the world is not yet fully 
informed what defence, if any, Miss Cavell made, 
or whether an adequate opportunity was given her 
to make any. The whole proceeding savours of 
the darkness of the mediaeval Inquisition. 

We have already seen that even if Miss Cavell's 
counsel, M. Kirschen, endeavoured in good faith 
to make an adequate defence in her behalf, it was 
impossible for him to see her in advance of the 
trial, and M. Kirschen admitted this when he 
explained to the legal counsel of the American 
Embassy that 

lawyers defending prisoners before a German Mili- 
tary Court were not allowed to see their clients 
before trial and were not permitted to see any docu- 
ment of the prosecution. 

It is true that M. Kirschen so far defends the 
trial accorded to Miss Cavell as to say 

132 The War and Humanity 

that the hearing of the trial of such cases is carried 
out very carefully and that in his opinion, although 
it was not possible to see the client before the trial, 
in fact the trial itself developed itself so carefully 
and so slowly that it was generally possible to have 
a fair knowledge of all the facts and to present a 
good defence for the prisoner. This would espe- 
cially be the case of Miss Cavell, because the trial 
would be rather long, as she was prosecuted with 34 
other prisoners. 

This explanation of M. Kirschen is amazing 
to any lawyer who is familiar with the defence 
of men who are charged with a crime. Here 
was a case of life and death and the counsel for 
the defence intimates that he can adequately 
defend the prisoner at the bar without being 
previously advised as to the nature of the charges 
or an opportunity to confer with his client before 
the testimony begins. 

Still more remarkable is his explanation that 
as his client was to be tried with thirty-four others, 
the opportunity for a defence would be especially 
ample. As the author had the honour for some 
years to be a prosecuting attorney for the United 
States Government and therefore has some famil- 
iarity with the trial of criminal cases, his opin- 
ion may possibly have some value in suggesting 
that the complexity of different issues when tried 

The Case of Edith Cavell 133 

together and the difficulty of distinguishing be- 
tween various testimony naturally increases with 
the simultaneous trial of a large number of de- 
fendants. Where each defendant is tried sepa- 
rately, the full force of the testimony for or against 
him can be weighed to some advantage, but where 
such evidence is intermingled and confused by the 
simultaneous trial of thirty-four separate issues, 
it is obvious, with the fallibility of human memory, 
that the separate testimony against each particular 
defendant cannot be fully weighed. 

The trial was apparently a secret one in the sense 
that it was a closed and not an open court. Other- 
wise how can we account for the poverty of informa- 
tion as to what actually took place on the trial ? 

The court sat for two days in the trial of the 
thirty-five cases in question and the American 
Legation had been most anxious, in view of 
the nature of the case and the urgency of the 
inquiries, to ascertain something about the trial. 
The outside world apparently knew little or noth- 
ing of this wholesale trial of non-combatants, most 
of them being women, until some days thereafter, 
and the only intimation that the American Lega- 
tion previously had was a letter of "a few lines" 
from M. Kirschen, stating that the trial would take 
place on October the 7th. 

134 The War and Humanity 

Notwithstanding the assurance of M. Kirschen 
that, he would keep the American Legation fully 
advised and would even disclose to it in advance 
of the trial "the exact charges that were brought 
against Miss Cavell and the facts concerning her 
that would be disclosed at the trial, " yet no further 
information reached the American Legation from 
Miss Cavell's counsel, who for some reason did not 
advise the American Legation that the trial had 
commenced on the 7th and had been concluded on 
the 8th. The American Legation only learned the 
fact of the trial from "an outsider" and it at once 
proceeded to look for M . Kirschen . Unfortunately 
he could not be located and thereupon the counsel 
for the American Legation wrote him on Sunday, 
October the loth, and asked him to send his report 
to the Legation or to call on the following day. 

Having no word from M. Kirschen as late as 
October the nth (his last communication with 
the American Legation being on October 3d), the 
counsel for the Legation twice called at his house 
and again failed to find him in or to receive any 
message from him. 

It is clear that if M. Kirschen had advised the 
American Legation as to the developments of 
the trial on October 7th and 8th and had further 
advised the Legation promptly as to the conclu- 

The Case of Edith Cavell 135 

sion of the trial and its probable outcome, there 
is a reasonable possibility that Miss Cavell' s 
life might have been saved, but for some reason, 
as to which M. ICirschen certainly owes an ex- 
planation to the civilized world, he failed to 
keep his positive promise to keep the Ameri- 
can Legation fully advised, and in view of this 
fact his assurance to the American Legation 
"that the Military Court of Brussels was always 
perfectly fair, and that there was not the slightest 
danger of any miscarriage of justice," must be 
taken with a very large "grain of salt." The 
fact is that M. Kirschen was retained and paid by 
our Legation to keep it informed. Apparently he 
feared to disclose all his knowledge of the devel- 
opments for fear that the German Military Court 
would resent any disclosure of its Star Chamber 
methods. It is undeniable that nearly all who 
attended the trial feared to speak of its details. 

The significant fact remains that the American 
Legation never heard that the trial had taken 
place until the day after, and then only learned it 
from "an outsider" whose very name it prudently 
refused to disclose. To call this an open or pub- 
lic trial is an absurdity. Had the American Lega- 
tion sent a representative to the trial, the world 
would then have had a much clearer knowledge, 

136 The War and Humanity 

upon which to base its judgment, but when M. De 
Leval suggested his intention to attend the trial, 
as a representative of the Legation, he was advised 
by M. Kirschen that such an act "would cause 
great prejudice to the prisoner because the Ger- 
man judges would resent it. " 

What an indictment of the court ! Even to see 
a representative of the American Government at 
the trial, in the interests of fair play, would pre- 
judice the minds of the judges against the unfor- 
tunate woman who was being tried for a capital 
offence without any previous opportunity to con- 
fer with counsel. There may be a satisfactory 
explanation for M. Kirschen's conduct in the 
matter, but it has not yet appeared. It should, 
however, be added, in fairness to him, that the 
anonymous "outsider," from whom the American 
Legation got its only information as to the develop- 
ments of the trial, stated that Kirschen "made a 
very good plea for Miss Cavell, using all arguments 
that could be brought in her favour before the 
court. " 

This does not give the lover of fair play a great 
deal of comfort, for if the anonymous informant 
was not a lawyer, the value to be attached to his 
or her estimate of Kirschen's plea must be re- 
garded as doubtful. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 137 

The same unknown informant told the American 
Legation that Miss Cavell was prosecuted "for 
having helped English and French soldiers as well 
as Belgian young men to cross the frontier and to 
go over to England. " It is stated on the same 
authority that Miss Cavell acknowledged the 
assistance thus given and admitted that some of 
them had "thanked her in writing when arriving 
in England. " 

From the same source the worid gets its only 
information as to the exact law which Miss Cavell 
was accused of violating. Paragraph 58 of the 
German Military Code inflicts a sentence of death 

any person who, with the intention of helping the 
hostile power, or of causing harm to the German or 
allied troops, is guilty of one of the crimes of para- 
graph 90 of the German Penal Code, 

and the only pertinent section of paragraph 90, 
according to the same informant, is the specific 
offence of 

guiding soldiers to the enemy (in German — "Dem 
Feinde Mannschaften zufuhrt"). 

I affirm with confidence that under this law, 
Miss Cavell was innocent and that the true 

138 The War and Humanity 

meaning of the law was perverted in order to in- 
flict the death sentence upon her. 

I admit that a strained construction of the 
language above quoted might be appHcable to 
a defendant who gave refuge to hostile soldiers 
in Brussels and thus enabled them to escape across 
the frontier into Holland and thence into a bel- 
ligerent country, but every penal law must receive 
a construction that is favourable to the defendant 
and agreeable to the dictates of humanity. Every 
civilized country construes its penal laws in favour 
of the liberty of the subject and no punishment, 
especially one of death, is ever imposed unless the 
offence charged comes indubitably within a rigid 
construction of the law. 

Keeping in mind this elementary principle, it 
is obvious that the offence of guiding soldiers to the 
enemy refers to the physical act of guiding a fugi- 
tive soldier back into his lines. A soldier becomes 
detached from his lines. He finds shelter in a farm- 
house. The farmer, knowing the roads, secretly 
guides him back into his lines, and this obviously 
is the offence which paragraph 90 had in mind, 
for the German word zujiihrt refers to a personal 

Miss Cavell simply gave shelter to soldiers and 
in some way facilitated their escape to Holland. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 139 

Holland is a neutral country and it was its duty to 
intern any fugitive soldiers who might escape from 
any one of the belligerent countries. The fact 
that these soldiers subsequently reached England 
is a matter that could not increase or diminish the 
essential nature of Miss Cavell's case. She 
enabled them to get to a neutral country, and this 
was not a case of "guiding soldiers to the enemy, " 
for Holland was not an enemy of Germany. 

This fact must have impressed the Military 
Court, for according to the same informant it did 
not at once agree upon either the verdict of 
* ' Guilty " or the judgment of death, and it is stated 
that the judges would not have sentenced her to 
death if the fugitive soldiers, who had crossed into 
Holland, had not subsequently arrived in England, 
but it will astound any lawyer to learn that the 
subsequent escape of these same prisoners from 
Holland to England could be reasonably regarded 
as a guidance by Miss Cavell of these soldiers to 
England. In all probability Miss Cavell had little 
or nothing to do with these soldiers after they left 
Brussels, but even assuming that she provided the 
means and gave the directions for their escape 
across the frontier between Belgium and Holland, 
that was "the head and front of her offending," 
and it does not come within the law under which 

140 The War and Humanity 

she was sentenced to death. All doubt is set at 
rest as to this question of construction, for im- 
mediately after the Cavell execution, the German 
MiUtary Government of Belgium broadened the 
law to include the offence of any ** harbouring of 
enemies." The amendment clearly indicates its 
doubt as to the appHcation of the former law to 
Miss Cavell's act. 

' When she was asked by her judges as to her 
reasons for sheltering these fugitives, she replied 
that she "thought that if she had not done so 
they would have been shot by the Germans and 
that therefore she thought she only did her duty 
to her country in saving their Hves. " 

This fairly states what she did, and this brave 
and frank reply probably caused her death. She 
gave a temporary shelter to men who were in 
danger of death, and, as previously stated, thus 
yielded to a humanitarian impulse which all 
civilized nations have recognized as worthy of the 
most lenient treatment. 

When, therefore. Dr. Alfred Zimmermann, speak- 
ing for the German Foreign Office, expressed its 
"surprise" that Miss Cavell's execution should 
"have caused a sensation," it is well to remind 
the official apologist for Prussia that to offer a 
refuge to the fugitive is an impulse of humanity. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 141 

It is likely that these soldiers were her wounded 
patients ; at all events they had found a refuge in 
her hospital. They claimed the protection of her 
roof and she gave it to them. 

In the first act of Walkuere — which is not over- 
burdened with the atmosphere of morality — even 
the black-hearted Hunding says to his blood- 
enemy : 

" Heilig ist mein herd; 
; Heilig sei dir mein haus." 

("Holy is my hearth! Holy will be to thee my 

It must be remembered that all this did not take 
place in the zone of actual warfare. A spy caught 
in the lines of armies is summarily dealt with of 
necessity. But Brussels was miles away from the 
scene of actual hostilities. Its civil courts were 
open and a civil administration ruled its affairs 
of such reputed beneficence and efficiency as to 
evoke the ungrudging admiration of a distinguished 
college professor who bears the honoured name of 
George B. McClellan. There was therefore no 
possible excuse under international law for a 
court-martial, as this trial plainly was. 

In the American civil war a military com- 
mission once sought to hold a similar trial in 

142 The War and Humanity 

Indianapolis over civilians accused of treason, but 
the United States Supreme Court, in the case of 
ex parte Milligan, sternly repudiated this form of 
military tyranny. 

In that case the Supreme Court said: 

There are occasions when martial rule can be 
properly applied. If, in foreign invasion or civil 
war, the courts are actually closed, and it is impossible 
to administer criminal justice according to law, 
then, on the theatre of active military operations, 
where war really prevails, there is a necessity to 
furnish a substitute for the civil authority, thus 
overthrown, to preserve the safety of the army and 
society; ... As necessity creates the rule, so it 
limits its duration; for, if this government is con- 
tinued after the courts are reinstated, it is a gross 
usurpation of power. Martial rule can never exist 
where the courts are open, and in the proper and 
unobstructed exercise of their jurisdiction. // is 
also confined to the locality of actual war. 

All civilized countries, including Germany, have 
always recognized a difference between high trea- 
son, punishable with death, and ordinary treason. 
The German Strafgesetzbuch thus distinguishes 
between high treason {hochverrat) and the lesser 
crime of landesverrat. High treason consists in 
murdering or attempting to murder a sovereign or 
prince of Germany or an attempt by violence to 
overthrow the Imperial Government or any State 

The Case of Edith Cavell 143 

thereof. This alone is punishable with death. 

While this distinction of the German Civil Code 
may have no application when military law is 
being enforced, yet it illustrates a distinction, 
which all humane nations have recognized, between 
the treason which seeks to overthrow a State by 
rebellion and lesser offences against the authority 
of a State. 

[ Assuming that Miss Cavell's offence could be 
regarded in any sense as treasonable, it certainly 
constituted the lesser offence under the distinction 
above quoted. 

Is it not possible that Miss Cavell was tried, 
condemned, and executed for her sympathy with 
the cause of Belgium and her willingness to save 
her compatriots from suffering and death? May 
not military necessity — ever the tyrant's plea — 
have demanded a victim to terrorize further a 
subjugated people ? They chose Miss Cavell. 

Notwithstanding the request of the American 
Legation in its letter of October 5th that it be 
advised not only as to the charges, but also as to 
the sentence imposed upon Miss Cavell, and the 
express promise of Herr Kirschen to inform it of 
all developments, it was kept in ignorance of the 
fact that sentence of death had been passed upon 
her. Minister Whitlock only heard this on Oc- 

144 The War and Humanity 

tober nth, and he at once addressed a letter to 
Baron von der Lancken in which, after stating this 
fact, he appealed "to the sentiment of generosity 
and humanity in the Governor General in favour 
of Miss Cavell, " with a view to commutation of 
the death sentence, and at the same time ad- 
dressed a similar letter to Baron von Bissing, the 
Civil Governor of Belgium, who failed to give to 
the American Government even the cold courtesy 
of a reply. 

On the morning of October nth our Minister 
heard — not from the German authorities, but 
from unofficial sources — that the trial had been 
completed on the preceding Saturday afternoon, 
and he at once communicated with the Political 
Department of the German Civil Government, 
and was expressly assured 

that no sentence had been pronounced and that 
there would probably be a delay of a day or two 
before a decision was reached. 

The official in charge of the PoUtical Department 
(Herr Conrad) gave a further 

positive assurance that the [American] Legation 
would be fully informed as to the developments in 
the case. 

Notwithstanding this direct promise and further 

The Case of Edith Cavell 145 

"repeated inquiries in the course of the day," 
no further word reached the Legation, and at 6.20 
P.M. it again inquired as to Miss Cavell's fate, 
and Herr Conrad again "stated that sentence had 
not yet been pronouncedJ'^ 

To "make assurance doubly sure" three repre- 
sentatives of the American Legation separately 
inquired at different hours of the fateful day as 
to the developments in Miss Cavell's case and 
were assured that there had been none. To keep 
the matter more secret the sentence of death, 
ordinarily pronounced in court, was read to the 
victim in the privacy of her prison cell. Two hours 
after the last assurance, the American Legation 
heard Jrom unofficial sources, that all that had 
been told it by the Political Department was un- 
true and that the sentence had been passed at 
5 o'clock P.M., and before its last inquiry, and 
that the execution was to take place that night. 

The Secretary of the American Legation, Hugh 
Gibson, who throughout this dark tragedy, ap- 
proved himself a man and a worthy representa- 
tive of his country, proceeded at once to Baron 
von der Lancken and again asked as a favour to 
this Government that clemency be extended. He 
brought with him a letter from the American 

Minister, which reads as follows: 

146 The War and Humanity 

My DEAR Baron: 

I am too ill to put my request before you in 
person, but once more I appeal to the generosity 
of your heart. Stand by and save from death 
this unfortunate woman. Have pity on her. 
Your devoted friend, 

Brand Whitlock. 

Accompanying this purely personal note were 
two substantially similar communications, the 
one directed to Baron von Bissing and the other 
to Baron von der Lancken. These communi- 
cations are as follows : 

I have just heard that Miss Cavell, a British sub- 
ject, and consequently under the protection of my 
Legation, was this morning condemned to death by 

If my information is correct, the sentence in the 
present case is more severe than all the others that 
have been passed in similar cases which have been 
tried by the same Court, and, without going into 
the reasons for such a drastic sentence, I feel that 
I have the right to appeal to your Excellency's 
feelings of humanity and generosity in Miss Cavell's 
favour, and to ask that the death penalty passed on 
Miss Cavell may be commuted and that this un- 
fortunate woman shall not be executed. 

Miss Cavell is the head of the Brussels Surgical 
Institute. She has spent her life in alleviating 
the sufferings of others, and her school has tiirned 
out many nurses who have watched at the bedside 
of the sick all the world over, in Germany as in 

The Case of Edith Cavell 147 

Belgium. At the beginning of the war Miss Cavell 
bestowed her care as freely on the German soldiers 
as on others. Even in default of all other reasons, 
her career as a servant of humanity is such as to 
inspire the greatest sympathy and to call for pardon. 
If the information in my possession is correct, Miss 
Cavell, far from shielding herself, has, with com- 
mendable straightforwardness, admitted the truth 
of all the charges against her, and it is the very 
information which she herself has furnished, and 
which she alone was in a position to furnish, which 
has aggravated the severity of the sentence passed 
on her. 

It is then with confidence, and in the hope of its 
favourable reception, that I have the honour to 
present to your Excellency my request for pardon 
on Miss Cavell's behalf. 

This note was read aloud to Baron von der 
Lancken, the very official who had refused to 
answer the first communication of the Legation 
with reference to the matter, and he 

expressed disbelief in the report that sentence had 
actually been passed and manifested some surprise 
that we should give credence to any report not 
emanating from official sources. He was quite 
insistent on knowing the exact source of our informa- 
tion, but this I [Gibson] did not feel at liberty to 
communicate to him. 

Baron von der Lancken proceeded to express 
his belief "that it was quite improbable that sen- 

148 The War and Humanity 

tence had been pronounced, " and that in any event 
no execution would follow. After some hesitation 
he telephoned to the presiding judge of the court- 
martial and then reported that the Legation's 
unofficial information was only too true. 

His attention was further called to the express 
promise of the Director of the Political Depart- 
ment to inform the American Legation of the 
sentence, and he was asked to grant the Ameri- 
can Government the courtesy of a "delay in 
carrying out the sentence." 

To this appeal for mercy Baron von der Lancken 
replied that the Military Governor General, Sau- 
berzweig, was the supreme authority and that he 
"had discretionary power to accept or to refuse 
acceptance of an appeal for clemency. " He there- 
upon left the representative of the American Le- 
gation and apparently called upon Sauberzweig 
and after half an hour returned with the state- 
ment that not only would the Military Governor 
decline to revoke the sentence of death, but "that 
in view of the circumstances of this case, he must 
decline to accept your plea for clemency or any 
representation in regard to the matter. " 

Thereupon Baron von der Lancken Insisted 
that Mr. Brand Whitlock's representative (Mr. 
Hugh Gibson, Secretary of the Legation) should 

The Case of Edith Cavell 149 

take back the formal appeal for clemency addressed 
both to him and to von Bissing, and as both 
German officials had been fully advised as to the 
nature of the plea, Mr. Gibson finally consented. 
Baron von der Lancken assured Mr. Gibson that 
under the circumstances "even the Kaiser himself 
could not intervene," a statement that was very 
quickly refuted when the Kaiser — aroused by the 
world-wide condemnation of Miss Cavell's execu- 
tion — did commute the death sentences imposed 
upon the other persons who were condemned to 
death with Miss Cavell. One of these, a gently 
nurtured woman of noble birth, was given a sen- 
tence of ten years' hard labor and is now treated as 
a common felon. 

During the earnest conversation which took 
place in this last attempt to save Miss Cavell's 
life, Mr. Gibson took occasion to remind Baron 
von der Lancken 's official associates — although it 
should not have been necessary — as to the great 
services rendered by the United States, and espe- 
cially by Mr. Brand Whitlock, in the earlier period 
of the German occupation, and this was urged 
as a reason why as a matter of courtesy to the 
United States Government some more courteous 
consideration should be accorded to its request. 

At the outbreak of the war, thousands of German 

150 The War and Humanity 

residents of Belgium returned to their country in 
such haste that they left their families behind them. 
Mr. Whitlock gathered these women and children 
— numbering, it is said, over ten thousand — and 
provided them with the necessaries of life, and ulti- 
mately safe transportation into Germany, and 
having thus placed this inestimable service to thou- 
sands of German civilians in one scale, the Ameri- 
can representative simply asked, as "the only 
request" made by the United States upon grounds 
of reciprocal generosity, that some clemency should 
be given to Miss Cavell. The refusal to give this 
clemency, or even to accept in a formal way the 
plea for clemency, is one of the blackest cases of 
ingratitude in the history of diplomacy. 

On October 22d, there was issued from Brussels 
a "semi-official" but anonymous statement, charg- 
ing that in the reports of the Secretary of the 
American Legation, from which the above quoted 
statements are mainly taken, "most of the im- 
portant events are inaccurately reproduced." 

No specification of any inaccuracy is however 
made, except the general denial "that the Ger- 
man authorities with empty promises put ofiE the 
American Minister" and also the equally general 
statement that no promise was given to our 
Legation to advise it of developments in the case. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 151 

A vague, general, and anonymous denial, issued 
by men who seek to wash their hands of innocent 
blood, cannot avail against Mr. Gibson's clear, 
specific, and circumstantial statement. The 
Secretary of our Legation states that on October 
nth he made "repeated" inquiries of Herr Conrad, 
the official in charge of the PoHtical Department 
of the German Government in Belgium, the last 
inquiry being at 6.20 p. m. by the dock (an hour 
after the victim had been sentenced to death), 
and was on each occasion assured that "sentence 
had not been pronounced" and that "he (Conrad) 
would not fail to inform us as soon as there was 
any news." 

Does Herr Conrad deny this? 

The Brussels "semi-official" statement has the 
hardihood to state to the world that the American 
Minister (Brand Whitlock) had admitted that "no 
such promise or assurance was given, " and it 
places the responsibility upon M. De Leval, the 
Belgian legal counsellor of the American Legation, 
but this impudent He is speedily overthrown by the 
positive statement of our Minister to Belgium to 
our Ambassador in London as follows: 

From the date we first learned of Miss Cavell's 
imprisonment we made frequent inquiries of the 
German authorities and reminded them of their 

152 The War and Humanity 

promise that we should be fully informed as to 
developments. They were under no misapprehen- 
sion as to our interest in the matter. 

, Will the American people or the people of any 
nation hesitate to accept the clear, positive, and 
circumstantial statements of Minister Whitlock, 
Secretary Gibson, and Counsellor De Leval, at 
least two of whom are wholly disinterested in the 
matter, as against the self-exculpatory, general, 
and anonymous denials of a "semi-official" press 
bureau, especially when it is recalled that from the 
beginning of the great war, the German Foreign 
Office, with whom military honour is supposed to 
be almost a religion, has at times stooped to bare- 
faced mendacity? 

When the world recalls how Austria's Ambas- 
sadors in Paris, London, and Petrograd made the 
most emphatic statements that the forthcoming 
ultimatum to Serbia would be "pacific and con- 
ciliatory," and assured the Russian Ambassador 
that he could therefore safely leave Vienna, aad 
also recalls how the German Ambassadors gave to 
England, France, and Russia the most solemn and 
unequivocal assurances that 

the German Government had no knowledge of the 
text of the Austrian note before it was handed in and 
had not exercised any influence on its contents, 

The Case of Edith Cavell 153 

and later admitted, when the lie had served its 
purpose, that it had been fully consulted by its 
ally before the ultimatum was prepared, it will 
give little attention to this attempt of a German 
press bureau to discredit the statements of the 
American Minister, given in name to Ambassador 
Page, in effect to the world. 

With the exception of the submarine contro- 
versy, during which American citizens were killed 
on the high seas while the State Department was 
writing vain notes of protest on the subject, no 
chapter of its diplomatic history is more humilia- 
ting than the tolerance with which it accepted this 
deliberate affront to its Legation in Brussels in the 
case of Edith Cavell. 

While Americans can take justifiable pride in 
the brave and courageous attempts of Mr. Hugh 
Gibson and M. de Leval to save Edith Cavell's 
life, yet they cannot find much cause for pride or 
satisfaction in the subsequent action of their State 

Mr. Brand Whitlock had in his communication 
to Ambassador Page stated the facts as herein 
recited and the German semi-official press bureau 
at Brussels thereupon issued a statement denying 
that any misleading assurances had been given the 
American Legation, or that any promiseshad been 

154 The War and Humanity 

broken or any discourtesy shown to the United 
States. This in effect gave the lie to Mr. Whit- 
lock's deliberate statements to the contrary and 
the least that any patriotic American could expect 
of his State Department would be that it would 
support the statements of its Minister until con- 
vinced of their falsity. 

The State Department, however, in turn gave 
to the American press an anonymous statement, 
intimating that that Department had received a 
long report from its Minister in Brussels, which 
acquitted "high German officials of bad faith in 
relation to her case. " 

The press bureau statement further states that 
Mr. Whitlock's report indicated that "the Lega- 
tion officially received no pledge or promise that it 
would be kept informed of the disposition of the 
case." This contrasts very strangely with Mr. 
Brand Whitlock's official statement to the British 
Government in his report to Ambassador Page as 
follows : 

From the day we first learned of Miss Cavell's 
imprisonment, we made frequent inquiries of the 
German authorities and reminded them of their 
promise that we should he fully informed as to de- 
velopments. They were under no misapprehension 
as to our interest in the matter. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 155 

Mr. Whitlock's long report to Washington has 
never been made pubHc and he has thus been left 
in the unenviable position that he either mis- 
stated an official fact in his report to the Ameri- 
can Ambassador in London or that his version 
has been repudiated by his own State Depart- 
ment upon the authority of his own subsequent 
statements to Washington. 

It was the obvious duty of the State Department 
either to sustain Mr. Brand Whitlock in the only 
statement which he has made over his signature, 
when it was challenged by the German military 
authorities at Brussels, or if convinced that he did 
them any injustice, he should have been promptly 
recalled. The State Department has preferred, 
however, to gloss over the whole incident by 
smoothing the ruffled feelings of Miss Cavell' s 
judges and executioners by the press bureau 
statement in question, while retaining Mr. Brand 
Whitlock in Belgium as its representative. 

Why should the State Department have been 
under such pains to gloss over this tragic incident 
and save the face of the German military authori- 
ties? The author prefers to assume that the pur- 
pose was to save the Minister's status in Belgium 
for the good that he could render the unhappy 
civilian population of that country. Had the 

156 The War and Humanity 

incident not been thus glossed over, it is probable 
that the German Government would have de- 
clined, as it could very properly do under inter- 
national law, to recognize any further the status 
of the American Legation in Brussels. Freely 
conceding this, may not the candid historian in 
future years feel that the temporary advantage 
was gained at too great a sacrifice? The truth of 
history was in question and the issue involved 
in the Cavell case should never have been obscured 
by this misguided although probably well meant 
attempt of the State Department to smooth over 
the friction in Brussels by giving some color to the 
denial of the German military authorities of one 
of the most disgraceful features of a dreadful 

In this last interview between Mr. Gibson and 
Baron von der Lancken, which took place a few 
hours before the execution, Mr. Gibson reminded 
these Prussian officials 

of our untiring efforts on behalf of German subjects 
at the outbreak of the war and during the siege of 
Antwerp. I pointed out that, while our services 
had been gladly rendered and without any thought 
of future favours, they should certainly entitle you 
[the American Minister] to some consideration for 
the only request of this sort you had made since 
the beginning of the war. 

The Case of Edith Cavell 157 

Even the Minister's appeal to gratitude and to 
one of the most ordinary and natural courtesies of 
diplomatic life proved unavailing, and at midnight 
the Secretary of the American Legation and the 
Spanish Minister, who was acting with him, left 
in despair. At 2 o'clock that morning Miss 
Cavell was secretly executed. 

The ordinary courtesy accorded to the vilest 
criminal, of being permitted before dying to have 
a clergyman of his own selection, was denied 
her until some hours before her death, for the 
legal counsellor of the American Legation on 
October loth applied in behalf of this country for 
permission for an English clergyman to see Miss 
Cavell, and this, too, was refused, as her jailers 
preferred to assign her the prison chaplain as well 
as her counsel. Even the final appeal of Mr. Whit- 
lock for the surrender of her mutilated body was 
denied, on the ground that only the Minister of 
War in Berlin could grant it. The request was to 
remove the body from the precincts of the jail to a 
more seemly place of burial in Brussels. This was 
denied and so far as known her body remains 
where it was first buried. One can say of that 
biuial place, as Byron said of the prison cell of 
Chillon: "Let none these marks efface, for they 
appeal from tyranny to God." 

158 The War and Humanity 

Apart from the brutality of the whole incident 
there is one circumstance that makes it of peculiar 
interest to the American people and which gives 
to it the character of rank ingratitude. Its re- 
presentative, as above stated, did advise the 
German officials that a little delay was asked by 
our Legation as a slight return for the innumerable 
acts of kindness which its Legation had done for 
German soldiers and interned prisoners in the earlier 
days of the war before the German invasion had swept 
over the land. 

The charge of ingratitude may rest soundly 
upon far greater and broader grounds. 

The United States had contributed in money 
and merchandise a sum aggregating many millions 
for the relief of the people in Belgium. In so 
doing it did to the German nation an inestimable 
service, for when Germany first conquered and 
then ruthlessly impoverished Belgium the duty 
and burden rested upon it to support its popula- 
tion to the extent that it might become neces- 
sary. The burden of supporting 8,000,000 civilians 
was no light one, especially as there existed in 
Germany a scarcity of food. As bread tickets 
were then being issued in Germany to its people, 
the supplies would have been substantially less if 
a portion of its food products had been required 

The Case of Edith Cavell 159 

for the civilian population of Belgium, for ob- 
viously the German nation could not permit a 
people, whom it had so ruthlessly trampled under 
foot, to starve to death. Every dollar that was 
raised in America for the Belgian people, there- 
fore, operated to relieve Germany from a heavy 

Moreover, when the war broke out, Germany 
needed some friendly nation to take over the 
care of its nationals in the hostile countries, and 
in England, France, Belgium, and Russia the 
interests of German citizens were assumed by the 
American Government as a courtesy to Germany, 
and no one can question how faithfully in the last 
fourteen months Page in London, Sharp in Paris, 
and Whitlock in Brussels have laboured to alle- 
viate the inevitable suffering to German prisoners 
or interned civilians. 

In view of these services, it surely was not 
much for the American Minister to ask that a 
little delay should be granted to a woman, whose 
error, if any, had arisen from impulses of humanity 
and from considerations of patriotism. To spare 
her Hfe a little longer could not have done the 
German cause any possible harm, for she was in 
their custody and beyond the power of rendering 
any help to her compatriots. 

i6o The War and Humanity 

Under these circumstances, it would be in- 
credible, if the facts were not beyond dispute, that 
the request of the United States for a little delay- 
was not only refused, but that its Legation was 
deliberately misled and deceived until the death 
sentence had been inflicted. 

This makes the fate of Miss Cavell the concern 
of America as much as that of the Lusitania. And 
yet we have the already familiar semi-official as- 
surance from Washington that while our officials 
"unofficially deplore the act, officially they can do 
nothing." Concurrently we are told in the 
President's Thanksgiving proclamation of 1915 
that we should be thankful because we have 
"been able to assert our rights and the rights 
of mankind," and that this "has been a year of 
special blessing for us," for, so the proclamation 
adds, "we have prospered while other nations 
were at war." 

Would it not be better to do more in fact 
and less in words to safeguard the rights of 

President Wilson's initial blunder was in turning 
away the Belgian Commissioners, when they first 
presented the wrongs of their crucified nation, with 
icy phrases as to a mysterious day of reckoning in 
the indefinite future. An act of justice now will be 

The Case of Edith Cavell i6i 

worth a thousand future *' accountings " after the 
present agony of the world is ended. 

The final scene of the Cavell murder is found in 
the simple but poignantly pathetic words of the 
chaplain who was permitted to see the victim 
a few hours before her death : 

On Monday evening, the nth October, I was ad- 
mitted by special passport from the German author- 
ities to the prison of St. Giles, where Miss Edith 
Cavell had been confined for ten weeks. The final 
sentence had been given early that afternoon. 

To my astonishment and relief I found my friend 
perfectly calm and resigned. But this could not 
lessen the tenderness and intensity of feeling on 
either part during that last interview of almost 
an hour. 

: Her first words to me were upon a matter con- 
cerning herself personally, but the solemn assevera- 
tion which accompanied them was made expressedly 
in the light of God and eternity. She then added 
that she wished all her friends to know that she 
willingly gave her life for her country, and said: 
"I have no fear nor shrinking ; I have seen death so 
often that it is not strange or fearful to me. " She 
further said: "I thank God for this ten weeks' 
quiet before the end." ' "Life has always been 
hurried and full of difficulty. " " This time of rest 
has been a great mercy." "They have all been 
very kind to me here. But this I would say, stand- 
ing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that 
patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred 
or bitterness towards any one. " 

i62 The War and Humanity 

We partook of the Holy Communion together, 
and she received the Gospel message of consolation 
with all her heart. At the close of the little service 
I began to repeat the words "Abide with me," and 
she joined softly in the end. 

We sat quietly talking until it was time for me to 
go. She gave me parting messages for relations 
and friends. She spoke of her soul's needs at the 
moment and she received the assurance of God's 
Word as only the Christian can do. 

Then I said " Good-bye," and she smiled and said, 
"We shall meet again. " 

The German military chaplain was with her 
at the end and afterwards gave her Christian 

He told me: "She was brave and bright to the 
last. She professed her Christian faith and that 
she was glad to die for her country. She died 
like a heroine." 

It would be interesting to compare these last 
hours of one of the noblest women in English 
history to those of that Greek maiden, whom 
the genius of Sophocles has glorified in his im- 
mortal tragedy. The comparison is altogether 
in favour of the English heroine, for while 
Antigone went to her death bravely, yet her 
final words were those of bitter complaint and 

Compare with these laments the Christlike sim- 
plicity of Miss Cavell'slast message to the world, 

The Case of Edith Cavell 163 

and the difference between the noblest Paganism 
and the best of Christianity is apparent. The white 
light of Calvary illumined her dark cell ! Standing 
"in view of God and eternity," she uttered the 
deeply pregnant sentence that "patriotism is not 
enough." Her executioners had illustrated this, for 
the ruthless killing of Edith Cavell for mihtary 
purposes was actuated by that perverted spirit of 
patriotism which believes that any wrong is sanc- 
tified if it serve the State. 

The dark secrecy of the execution gave rise to 
many false statements with respect to the nature 
of her end. As these exaggerated the horror of 
the deed and intensified the feeling of indignation 
against her executioners, they should be corrected. 
Some of these reputed details are too horrible for 

The facts as narrated by the German prison 
chaplain, who seems to have been a very noble 
and humane man, are very simple. Miss Cavell 
walked bravely to the place of her execution and 
simply inquired where she should stand. This 
was indicated and she was asked whether she 
preferred to be blindfolded, to which she re- 
plied "No." She folded her arms and then 
simply said to the firing squad "I am ready," 
and was then instantly killed. 

i64 The War and Humanity 

What words could describe the feelings of that 
firing squad when they saw the body of this brave 
and noble woman lying lifeless at their feet? 

Thus died Edith Cavell, assuredly one of the 
noblest women in the history of the worid. To her 
memory a statue is to be erected in Trafalgar 
Square but no art could fashion a statue worthy 
of the nobility of her soul. 

One can say of her, as was said of William the 
Silent, who was also assassinated, that when she 
died "the little children cried in the streets." 



" The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth 
more and more unto the perfect day." — Proverbs. 




The policy of the United States in this great 
crisis of history has been influenced in no small de- 
gree by a mistaken interpretation of Washington's 
farewell address. This interpretation precipitated 
a conflict of ideals in the souls of thousands of 
Americans and has lead to an inevitable confusion 
of thought and consequent indecision. 

On the one hand, the traditional sympathy, 
which Americans feel for any nation which suffers 
from injustice or oppression, would have led to a 
more vigorous poHcy on the part of this Govern- 
ment; but conflicting with this general sentiment 
was a tradition not less dear, the profound respect 
which every true American justly feels for the 
doctrine of Washington which, predicated upon the 
infancy of the Republic, seemingly advised that 
the United States should avoid any participation in 
political questions having their origin in European 


1 68 The War and Humanity 

If thus misapprehended, the true doctrine of 
Washington requires restatement, not merely in 
justice to his memory but because America will 
never play the part, which its great material and 
moral resources so justly warrant, unless it frees 
itself from that which I conceive to be a mis- 
interpretation of the real doctrine of Washington. 
No statute of mortmain holds property in its 
grip more unyieldingly than does the Washington 
legend dominate our world outlook. 

That his wise precepts, either correctly or 
incorrectly interpreted, profoundly affect the 
policies of a great nation more than one century 
after his death is in itself an extraordinary fact 
and an equal tribute to the worth of his character 
and the beneficent nature of his services to his 
country and to mankind. In life and death he 
remains the master American. 

In his lifetime, it was easier to state the fact of 
this mastery than to analyze its causes. When 
the intrepid Kent said to the kingly Lear, 
"You have that in your countenance which I 
would fain call master — authority," he partly 
explained Washington's leadership in his day and 

"Oh, lole, how did you know that Hercules was 
a God?" "Because," answered lole, "I was 

Foreign Policy of Washington 169 

content the moment my eyes fell on him. When I 
beheld Theseus I desired that I might see him 
offer battle, or at least guide his horses in a chariot 
race, but Hercules did not wait for a contest; he 
conquered whether he stood or walked or sat or 
whatever thing he did. " 

Patrick Henry voiced the universal judgment 
when he said, speaking of the Second Continental 
Congress, that "when you speak of solid opinion 
and sound judgment, Colonel Washington is un- 
questionably the greatest man upon that floor," 
and that was said of a convention which counted 
Franklin, Jefferson, Morris, Adams, and Madison 
among its members, and of which the elder 
Chatham, the greatest statesman of the English 
empire, said: 

I must declare and avow that in all my reading 
and study, and I have read Thucydides and have 
studied and admired the master States of the world, 
that for solidity of reason, force of sagacity, and wis- 
dom of conclusion, under such a complication of cir- 
cumstances, no nation or body of men can stand in 
preference to the General Congress at Philadelphia. 

Washington's mastery was not due to any 
abnormal development of mind or body. As some- 
one has said, his genius was that of centricity, 
and not of eccentricity. 

His power was not that of scientific attain- 

170 The War and Humanity 

ments, as in the case of Franklin, for he was not a 
highly educated man ; nor was it due, as in Jeffer- 
son's case, to a glowing imagination, a lofty 
idealism, and a gifted pen; nor did he triumph as 
Hamilton by unusual administrative genius and a 
brilliant personality; nor had he the gift of elo- 
quent speech as had Patrick Henry and the elder 
Adams, or the acute analytical mind of James 
Madison or John Marshall. 

Still less was his success that of a vigorously 
aggressive and intensely ambitious nature. In all 
his life he sought but one thing, and that was 
privacy. He preferred the ploughshare to the 
sword, and the quiet of Mount Vernon to the 
councils of the mighty. He was a shy, diffident 
man, who rarely spoke, and seldom offered an 
opinion unless it was solicited. 

Nothing more strikingly illustrates this fact than 
his attitude in the Constitutional Convention, 
when he occupied for four months the chair of 
presiding officer. No one more than he had in- 
spired in his countrymen the ideal of a consolidated 
union, and no one perceived more clearly the vital 
necessity of such a government, and yet, although 
he presided for nearly four months over the 
Constitutional Convention and listened, often 
with pained and anxious interest, to the vigorous 

Foreign Policy of Washington 171 

and at times angry debates of its members, he 
never spoke but once, and then but briefly. 

Before the Convention was even organized, and 
while the members who had already gathered were 
waiting for a quorum, he laid down — if we can 
trust the recollection of Gouvemeur Morris — that 
which forever should be the golden rule of states- 
manship in this country • 

It is too probable that no plan we propose will 
be adopted. Perhaps another dreadful conflict is 
to be sustained. If to please the people we offer 
what we oiuselves disapprove, how can we after- 
wards defend our work ? Let us raise a standard to 
which the wise and honest can repair. The event 
is in the hand of God. 

And yet this silent man was a more potent 
factor in bringing to pass the Constitution of 
the United States than any member. His influ- 
ence was potently felt throughout the entire de- 
liberations. That discordant body could not 
separate with its great work undone while the 
benignant countenance of Franklin and the master- 
ful spirit of Washington remained in their midst. 

It is even more remarkable how completely he 
took captive the hearts of his country's enemies. 
When his death was announced, the flags on many 

172 The War and Humanity 

English men of war were dipped in honour of his 
memory. All England rang with his praise. 

Within a month of his death, a leading English 
magazine thus described him: 

A man superior to all the titles which arrogance 
or servility has invented for the decoration of 
hereditary rank. ... In his character were re- 
newed all the qualities we most admire in the noblest 
names of antiquity. . . . The nearest approach to 
uniform propriety and perfect blamelessness which 
has ever been attained by man, or which is perhaps 
compatible with the conditions of humanity. 

When these and similar eulogies were spoken in 
England of one who had divided the British Em- 
pire in twain, the ashes of the controversy were 
not yet cold. Even then England regarded him 
as the consummate flower of the Anglo-Saxon 

His portrait has never been more graphically 
drawn in words than by the greatest of English 
novelists. In The Virginians, Thackeray says: 

What a constancy, what a magnanimity, what 
a surprising persistence against fortune ! . . . The 
chief of a nation In arms, doing battle with distracted 
parties; calm in the midst of conspiracy; serene 
against the open foe before him and the darker 

Foreign Policy of Washington i73 

enemies at his back; Washington, inspiring order 
and spirit into troops hungry and in rags; stung 
by ingratitude, but betraying no anger, and ever 
ready to forgive; in defeat invincible, magnanimous 
in conquest, and never so sublime as on that day 
when he laid down his victorious sword and sought 
his noble retirement — here indeed is a character to 
admire and revere, a life without a stain, a fame 
without a flaw. 

How little Washington could have anticipated 
that one hundred and fifteen years after his death 
the English people would reverently buy the 
home of his ancestors as a perpetual memorial, 
and propose to erect within the walls of West- 
minster Abbey a statue to his memory. 
; Was ever a moral victory over hostile opinion 
more complete? Can my readers imagine the 
leading publicists of France eulogizing the char- 
acter of Bismarck and placing his effigy in the 
Pantheon ? Or can they picture a statue to Hinden- 
burg in Paris, to JofTre in BerHn, or to von Tirpitz 
in Trafalgar Square? 

England was not alone in this tribute to a hero. 
In life and in death the world honoured him, as 
it has no other victorious captain. However 
divided the States of the world are in estimating 
other men and events, they are united in giving 
lasting honor to George Washington. 

174 The War and Humanity 

Was not the mystery of this triumph because he 

Stood serene and down the future saw the golden 

beam inclined 
To the side of perfect justice, mastered by his faith 

By one man's plain truth to manhood and to God's 

supreme design. 

To eulogize such a personality would be the 
idlest superfluity. Nothing can add to or detract 
from his pre-eminence among the wise, the good, 
and the heroic of men. His teachings with re- 
spect to the problems that immediately confront 
us as a nation are therefore of surpassing interest. 

In this great crisis of human history, when 
civilization is swept by a seismic storm of pas- 
sionate strife, we may well consider the foreign 
policy of George Washington in a somewhat an- 
alogous crisis. He helped to steady the Ship of 
State in his time and keep it on an even keel, 
when it was swept with angry cross seas of human 

There is in some respects an extraordinary 
analogy between the condition of the world as it 
now is and as it was during the two terms in which 
Washington served as Chief Magistrate. Then, 
as now, half the world was convulsed with 
fratricidal war. 

Foreign Policy of Washington 175 

As Washington said: "The whole world was in 
an uproar." Then, as now, the United States had 
a most difficult and delicate task "to steer safely" 
— again to quote his words — "between Scylla and 

It may be doubted whether any one but Wash- 
ington could have held the United States to- 
gether in this era of cyclonic strife a sufficient 
time to insure its perpetuity. It was a nation 
of about three millions of people, as distant 
from the centres of civilization as the Congo is 
now, and playing almost as insignificant a part in 
the great affairs of the world. 

The new Government was a novel experiment, 
and, as Washington said, he was obliged to "tread 
unbeaten paths." The Republic had neither an 
army nor a navy and no credit to organize either. 
A substantial part of the public debt was already 
in arrears, and the currency of the United States 
had sold a few years before at the rate of eight 
cents on the dollar. 

Its people were by no means united. Their re- 
presentatives had with great reluctance, and only 
after bitter controversy and prolonged delibera- 
tions, adopted the Constitution of the United 
States, and the people had ratified it with even 
greater hesitation and distrust. 

176 The War and Humanity 

Our country had always been a shuttlecock of 
European nations, and our destinies had thus been 
interwoven with the quarrels and intrigues of 
European nations. 

These conditions would have made the path of 
Washington supremely difficult under any cir- 
cumstances, but concurrently with the inaugura- 
tion of the new Government the French Revolution 
exploded as a long suppressed volcano. A few 
months after he took the oath of office the Bastille 
was stormed and a Paris mob marched on Versailles 
and brought the King a virtual captive to the 

Concurrently with Washington's effort to dem- 
onstrate the possibility of liberty with law, and 
freedom with order, the French Government had 
been usurped by the Committee of Public Safety 
under Danton, Marat, and Robespierre. Religion 
had been dethroned, nearly all existing institu- 
tions had been swept away, and license under the 
name of reason had been worshipped in the guise 
of a naked woman on the altar of Notre Dame. 

Nearly all Washington s utterances with respect to 
our foreign policy were predicated upon this extraor- 
dinary condition, and his wise and sagacious coun- 
sels must be read in the light of the conditions and 
problems to which they were specifically directed. 

Foreign Policy of Washington 177 

' Too little attention has, I think, been called 
to the moral grandeur of his first inaugural ad- 
dress. Both in diction and matter it is a worthy- 
predecessor of the first inaugural of Jefferson or 
the two similar addresses of Lincoln. After 
addressing a fervent suppHcation "to that Al- 
mighty Being Who rules over the universe" and 
Whose hand he beheld in the foundation of the 
United States, he asked : 

That the foundation of our national policy will 
be laid in the pure and immutable principles of 
private morality and the pre-eminence of free 
government be exemplified by all the attributes 
which can win the affections of its citizens and 
command the respect of the world. 

He affirmed the truth : 

That there exists in the economy and course of 
nature an indissoluble union between virtue and 
happiness, between duty and advantage, between 
the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous 
policy and the soUd rewards of public prosperity and 

And he expressed the belief: 

That the propitious smiles of heaven can never 
be expected on a union that disregards the eternal 
rules of order and right, which heaven itself has 

1/8 The War and Humanity 

Writing to Lafayette on January 29, 1789, he 

My endeavours shall be unremittingly exerted, 
even at the hazard of my former fame or present 
popularity, to extricate my country from the em- 
barassments in which it is entangled through want 
of credit. ... I think I see its path as clear and 
direct as a ray of light. Nothing but harmony, 
honesty, industry, and frugality are necessary to 
make us a great and happy people. 

Thus he prophetically saw the future greatness 
of the Republic. No one saw that future with a 
clearer vision. 

His sagacity is shown in the fact that he had no 
illusions about the French Revolution, as had 
so many of his contemporaries. 

On October 13, 1789, he wrote: 

I fear that although it has gone triumphantly 
through the first paroxysm, it is not the last it has 
to encounter before matters are finally settled. In 
a word, the Revolution is of too great magnitude 
to be effected in so short a space, and with the loss 
of so little blood. . . . The licentiousness of the 
people on the one hand, and the sanguinary punish- 
ment on the other, will alarm the best disposed 
friends to the measure, and contribute not a little to 
the overthrow of the object. ... To forbear run- 
ning from one extreme to another is no easy matter, 
and should this be the case, rocks and shelves, not 
visible at present, may wreck the vessel. 

Foreign Policy of Washington 179 

How rocks and shelves did for a time wreck the 
noble vessel, we, with the greater wisdom of the 
post factum kind, now know, for the fine aspira- 
tions for liberty, which originally inspired the 
French Revolution, were only to end in the 
iron rule of Napoleon. This Washington fore- 
saw, for in this same letter he said that "he re- 
garded the renovation of the French Constitution 
as one of the most wonderful events in the history 
of mankind," but, he added, "my greatest fear 
has been that the nation would not be sufficiently 
cool and moderate in making arrangements for the 
security of liberty." 

That great Revolution had its reflex influence 
on the United States, and this country was sharply 
divided between the partisans of England and 
those of France. The intensity of their con- 
flicting emotions was so great that the infant 
Republic would have been strangled in its very 
birth had it not been for one of the wisest acts of 
Washington, and yet the very one that cost him 
ultimately the most acute anxiety and the greatest 
bitterness of spirit. 

He selected for his Cabinet the leaders of the 
two great parties which were then in process of 
formation. One was Alexander Hamilton, the 
other Thomas Jefferson. Thus they were obHged 

i8o" The War and Humanity 

to some extent to submerge their differences in 
loyalty to their common chief. Jefferson and 
Hamilton were the hostages which the FederaHst 
and Democratic parties gave to Washington for 
their good behaviour in that period of passionate 
party strife. 

Nothing more strikingly marks the intensity 
of that strife than its continuance to this day, and 
the fact that our generation cannot be just, as 
Washington was, to both factions and their able 
leaders. Each of them was partly right and each 
partly wrong. In Washington's time, the one man, 
whose wise counsels were above the possibility of 
just criticism, was the well poised President. 

It is difficult for the followers of Hamilton, 
even to this day, to see the force and strength of 
Jefferson's position, and that of his party. The 
latter's opposition to the Constitution until the first 
ten amendments were adopted, was not without 
justification, for without those amendments the 
Republic might have degenerated into a mob 
tyranny. So, too, the opposition of the Jefferson 
minority to the tendencies of some of their oppo- 
nents was absolutely just, for it is idle at this day 
to deny that there was a considerable faction in 
this country that would have gladly turned the 
Republic into an hereditary autocracy. 

Foreign Policy of Washington i8i 

In reference to our foreign affairs, there was 
also considerable force in the Democratic party's 
contention. The sympathy for France was not 
without justification, for, apart from the invalu- 
able aid that she had given to us in the Revolution, 
and the fact that that Revolution, with all its 
excesses, represented an uprising of the people 
against long continued and indefensible wrong, 
there had been an express treaty between France 
and the United States, which perpetually obligated 
us to support France in any war which might be 
waged against her. 

On the other hand, the contention of the Feder- 
alists had also great justification. To them the 
supreme necessity in the infancy of the Republic 
was to restore the credit of the United States, 
and to consolidate a feeble league of jealous 
and discordant States into a harmonious and 
consolidated Union. To them, moreover, the 
tendencies of the French Revolution were prop- 
erly regarded as confusing Hcense with Hberty 
and tending to destroy altogether any stability 
in Government. The excesses of the Jacobins, 
whether in England or the United States, were 
clearly foreseen as the submersion of all public 
order and the enthronement of anarchy. 

Neither Jefferson nor Hamilton were suf- 

1 82 The War and Humanity 

ficiently broad to sacrifice wholly their personal 
controversies and interests to the common 
good in a spirit of loyalty to their illustrious 

No fact tried Washington more bitteriy than 
this. His whole official career as President was 
the most bitter experience of his life. It both 
aged and saddened him. It made of him in his 
latter days a silent and disillusioned man. At 
great sacrifice to his personal interests, at a time 
when his own affairs were in such a wretched 
condition that — being land poor — he actually 
borrowed the money to go from Mount Vernon 
to New York to be inaugurated, he had sacrificed 
every personal advantage to the public good, and 
yet he found his two chief advisers unwilling to 
submerge their differences. 

Their passionate quarrels so embittered him 
that he once said that there was only one mo- 
ment since he had been inaugurated that he had 
regretted having left his home in Mount Vernon, 
and that was "every moment," and that he "would 
rather be in the grave than to be the emperor of 
the worid." 

On August 23, 1792, he addressed a letter to 
Jefferson, Hamilton, and Randolph, in which, after 
deprecating the fact that internal dissension 

Foreign Policy of Washington 183 

should "be harrowing and tearing out our vitals," 
he added: 

That unless there could be more charity for the 
opinion and acts of one and another in governmental 
matters ... it would be difficult to manage the 
reins of Government, or keep the parts of it together, 
. . . and thus the fairest prospect of happiness and 
prosperity, that ever was presented to man, will be 
lost perhaps forever. 

He therefore asked that 

instead of wounding suspicions and irritating 
charges there may be liberal allowances, mutual 
forbearance, and temporary yieldings on all sides. 

A little later he writes to Jefferson that 

he deeply regrets the differences in opinion which 
have arisen and divided you and another principal 
officer of the Government. [Hamilton.] 

He added a wish that 

there can be an accommodation of them by mutual 
yieldings. ... I believe that the views of both 
of you, to be pure and well meant, and that experi- 
ence only will decide which are the better politics. 

Unfortunately these quarrels did not cease, 
but only increased in intensity, until Washing- 

1 84 The War and Humanity 

ton's life became so embittered that at the end of 
the first term it was with the greatest reluctance, 
and only at the earnest solicitation of both Jeffer- 
son and Hamilton, that he agreed to accept a re- 

It was not alone these two quarrelling statesmen 
who thus made his life miserable, when he was try- 
ing to construct the edifice of our Government on 
a sure fotmdation, but even more irritating to him 
were two editors, whose pinpricks and unfair at- 
tacks made the old lion roar with anger. To us, 
in this later day, when abuse has become so com- 
mon that little attention is paid to it, it is diffi- 
cult for us to understand the intense sensitiveness 
of Washington to the criticism of the press. One 
newspaper charged him — to use his own expres- 
sion — with deficiencies like those, of "a Nero, or 
a notorious defaulter or common pickpocket" 
— and it is true that a desire to put a regal 
crown on his grey head was persistently charged 
by these two "scribblers," as he contemptuously 
called them. 

With scant co-operation, even from his im- 
mediate Cabinet advisers, of whom Knox and 
Hamilton were avowed in their sympathies for 
England, and Jefferson and Randolph were equally 
ardent for France, Washington, with extraordin- 

Foreign Policy of Washington 185 

ary sagacity, kept the ship on an even keel, for 
he saw that nothing could be more fatal than to 
steer the infant Republic into the then seething 
maelstrom of European politics. 

Defending his policy in a letter to Patrick Henry, 
he said: 

My ardent desire and my aim has been ... to 
comply strictly with all our engagements foreign 
and domestic and to keep the United States free 
from political connection with every other country, 
to see them independent of all and under the 
influence of none. In a word, I want an American 
character that the Powers of Europe may be convinced 
that we act for ourselves and not for others. This in 
my judgment is the only way to be respected abroad 
and happy at home and not by becoming partisans 
of Great Britain or France, create dissension, dis- 
turb the public tranquillity, and destroy, perhaps 
forever, the cement which binds the Union. 

In a letter to William Heath, dated May 20, 
1797, he expressed the hope that 

our citizens would advocate their own cause instead 
of that of any other nation under the sun ; that is, 
if instead of being Frenchmen or Englishmen in 
politics they would be Americans, indignant at any 
attempt of either or any other power to establish 
an influence in our Councils or presume to sow the 
seeds of discord or disunion among us. 

i86 The War and Humanity 

Washington would have had little patience with 
hyphenated Americans of whatever racial origin. 
He welcomed the alien to this asylum of the 
oppressed, but when such alien took an oath of 
allegiance as a naturalized citizen it was in 
Washington's eyes no idle form that such applicant 
thus renounced all allegiance to any foreign ruler. 

Fully conscious that his exhausted country 
needed peace and quiet for its convalescence, he 
was nevertheless not a "peace at any price " adher- 
ent. He did not cherish the illusion that even in 
his day our nation could have the secrecy and im- 
munity of a hermit nation. 

When he delivered in December, 1793, his second 
inaugural address, war had already broken out 
in Europe and the burden of his message naturally 
dealt with the many novel problems which then 
confronted the infant Republic. He said: 

I cannot recommend to your notice measures 
for the fulfilment of our duties to the rest of the 
world without again pressing upon you the necessity 
of placing ourselves in a condition of complete 
defence and of exacting from them the fulfilment of 
their duties toward us. The United States ought 
not to indulge a persuasion that, contrary to the 
order of human events, they will forever keep at a 
distance those painful appeals to arms with which 
the history of every other nation abounds. There is 

Foreign Policy of Washington 187 

a rank due to the United States among nations which 
will he withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation 
of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be 
able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the 
most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, 
it must be known that we are at all times ready for war. 

His policy of neutrality was not however in- 
tended as a rigid and invariable policy, for it was 
expressly predicated upon the inability of the 
Republic to take at that time a commanding posi- 
tion in the affairs of the worid. He saw with a 
clear vision that while this state of weakness 
would not then allow us to follow any policy, other 
than one of temporary political isolation, yet that 
the time would come when a different policy would 
be possible and sometimes advisable. 

Thus, in a letter to Gouvemeur Morris, on De- 
cember 22, 1795, after reaffirming his policy of 
non-intervention in European politics, he says : 

Nothing short of self-respect and that justice 
which is essential to national character ought to 
involve us in the war ; for sure I am if this country 
is preserved in tranquility twenty years longer, it may 
bid defiance in a just cause to any power whatever. 

At the time he thus wrote, even with his pro- 
phetic vision he could not fully grasp the possibil- 
ity that in less than one hundred and twenty 

1 88 The War and Humanity 

years we would be a nation of one hundred million 
of people, and at least potentially the most power- 
ful nation in the world. 

It was, however, in the Farewell Address that he 
framed in the most deliberate and precise manner 
his views as to the foreign policy of the Govern- 

The care and deliberation, with which this im- 
mortal valedictory was prepared, is familiar to 
all students of our history. He first planned it at 
the end of his first term, and it evidently occupied 
his thoughts during the whole of his second term. 
He submitted drafts of it to Madison, discussed it 
with Jefferson and Knox, and finally engaged the 
acute mind and eloquent pen of Hamilton in its 
final preparation. Thus the Farewell Address, 
one of the noblest state documents in the history 
of the world, represents the mature wisdom and 
deliberate expression of the greatest minds of that 
period, aijd above all it speaks the very soul of 
Washington himself. 

Solemnly he warned us against — 

excessive partiality for one foreign nation and 
excessive dislike of another. . . . The great rule 
of conduct for you in regard to foreign nations is, 
in extending our commercial relations to them, to 
have as little political connection as possible. 

Foreign Policy of Washington 189 

Europe has a set of primary interests which to us 
have none or a very remote relation. Hence she 
must be engaged in frequent controversies, the 
causes of which are essentially foreign to our con- 
cerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to 
implicate ourselves by unofficial ties in the ordinary 
vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combina- 
tions and collisions of her friendships or enmities. 

The reader should note the reiteration of the 
word "ordinary." It suggests by necessary im- 
plication a belief on the part of Washington that 
there might arise extraordinary vicissitudes in 
European politics, which would involve the wel- 
fare of civilization itself, and as to these he was 
careful not to exclude the legitimate right and 
interest of the United States to have a voice. 

He continues : 

Our detached and distant situation invites and 
enables us to pursue a different course. 

That "detached and distant position" has 
been overcome by events which he could not 
possibly anticipate. With all his prophetic vision 
he never could have anticipated the steamship, 
railroad, telephone, cable, or the Marconi wire- 
less, which have woven the world into a com- 
munity of interests and have thereby promoted a 
solidarity of mankind which was not possible in 

I90 The War and Humanity 

his age, when the nations were detached and 
segregated communities. 

Again, in the Farewell Address, he expressly 
predicates his observations on the conditions which 
then prevailed and again prophetically calls atten- 
tion to the fact that if the infant Republic simply 
abstained in its infancy from intervention in the 
destructive policies of the Old World, a day would 
come when all nations must reckon with it, for he 

If we remain one people under an efficient 
government, the period is not far off when we may 
defy material injury from external annoyance; 
when we may take such an attitude as will cause 
the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to 
be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, 
under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon 
us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; 
when we may choose peace or war as our interests, 
guided by justice, shall counsel. 

Even more pointedly at the close of the Fare- 
well Address he says, in further explanation of his 
policy of neutrality in the then pending war 
between England and France : 

With me a predominant motive has been to 
endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and 
mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress 
without interruption to that degree of strength and 

Foreign Policy of Washington '191 

consistency which it may be necessary to give it, 
humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes. 

How little he anticipated the present day when 
assuredly we have, as no other nation, to use his 
expression, "the command of our own fortunes"! 

Did Washington intend to commit this country 
for all time to a poHcy of political isolation? 

I cannot believe it. When he strongly and saga- 
ciously advised his country against having "alli- 
ances" or "political connections" with other 
countries, the precise meaning which he gave to 
those terms must be steadily borne in mind. 

Civilization was then a community of detached 
and [isolated States, between whom there was 
no co-operative effort for the maintenance of in- 
ternational law and the preservation of peace. 
Alliances and treaty relations between nations 
were only for purposes of offence and defence and 
bound the respective nations in a community of 
purely selfish interest. International arbitration 
was almost unknown, while such a federation of 
the world, as was realized in the two Hague con- 
ventions, was as undreamed a possibility as Mar- 
coni's instantaneous transmission of news "by 
the sightless couriers of the air." 

It was an age in which each nation was an 

192 The War and Humanity 

Ishmael and international morality was almost 

The great ideal, to which mankind will march 
with increased rapidity after the close of the 
present war, namely, the joint responsibiUty of 
civiliization for the preservation of peace and the 
maintenance of international law, was also far 
beyond the ken of Washington's day. 

If the world shall hereafter move to this 
"consummation so devoutly to be wished" of 
collective responsibility, and if all nations shall 
unite to suppress any disturbance of the world's 
peace, as in the nature of civil war, can it be 
that Washington intended that in such a move- 
ment towards perpetual peace this Republic 
should surround itself by a Chinese wall of 
political isolation? 

' Is there anything in his teachings or career which 
justifies the assumption that he did not intend 
his Republic to realize its full destiny as a great, 
masterful, and beneficent people in proportion to 
its strength? 

' Could he, who witnessed and directed the mys- 
terious and puissant impulse, which led the colo- 
nies to throw off their allegiance to Great Britain 
and assume an independent station among the 
nations of the world, ignore the fact that that 

Foreign Policy of Washington 193 

instinct for expanding power would remain with 
us while Anglo-Saxon blood flowed in our veins? 
If he were alive today, would he reject the loco- 
motive for the stagecoach or the repeating rifle for 
the flint-lock musket? 

Had he Uved to see his nation in its lusty youth 
on the banks of the Mississippi, and later reach- 
ing the shores of the Pacific, and still later had 
seen its flag greeting the rising sun in the har- 
bour of Manila, would he, of all men, accept a 
policy which seeks to limit the power and influence 
of the RepubHc to the Western Hemisphere, and 
which attempts to surrender the world-wide and 
beneficent influence in the affairs of man, to which 
the greatness of its people and the strength of 
its resources alike entitle it ? 

Those who would forever keep the Republic in 
her swaddling clothes, and who for this purpose 
invoke the great name of Washington, should 
first convince us that if he were the President of 
potentially the most powerful nation, he would 
advise it to yield precedence to lesser and weaker 
Powers. Would he, of all men, ignore the fact 
that as America has derived from civilization in- 
estimable rights and privileges, it owes and should 
recognize its corresponding duty to be a potent 
and beneficent force in the councils of mankind? 

194 The War and Humanity 

Nothing would amaze Washington more, if he 
could revisit the glimpses of the moon, than to 
behold a great and potent nation limiting its 
beneficent power by a tradition of isolation, which, 
however suited to his time, is plainly ill adapted to 
a more complicated civilization. Washington, as 
all the other great actors of the Revolutionary epic, 
had his traditions and an ancestry in which he 
gloried, and yet he was forced by the logic of 
events to disregard both. When the Revolution 
came through unforeseen circumstances, nothing 
was further from the purposes of the founders of 
the Republic than separation from England. 

Said John Adams: "There was not a moment 
during the Revolution when I would not have 
given everything I possessed for a restoration to 
the state of things before the contest began, 
provided we could have had a sufficient security 
for its continuance." Dr. Franklin, the most 
trusted, sagacious, and farseeing statesman of his 
generation, said before the battle of Lexington 
that he had not heard the "least expression of a 
wish for a separation, or a hint that such a thing 
would be advantageous to America." John Jay 
said: "During the course of my life and until the 
second petition of Congress in 1775, I never had 
heard an American of any class, or of any de- 

Foreign Policy of Washington 195 

scription, express a wish for the independence of the 
colonies." The author of the Declaration of 
Independence said: "It has always been, and still 
is, my opinion and belief that our country was 
prompted and impelled to independence by 
necessity, not by choice. I never heard a whisper, 
before the commencement of hostilities, of a dis- 
position, to separate from Great Britain. " Wash- 
ington, in 1774, denounced as "malevolent false- 
hoods" the assertions that "there is any intention 
in the American colonies to set up for independent 
States." In 1776 he wrote: "When I took com- 
mand of the army I abhorred the idea of inde- 
pendence ; now I am convinced nothing else will 
save us." 

Building better than they knew — as all master 
builders of a nation — the founders of the Ameri- 
can Republic were led, by impulses which they 
could not fully understand, to disregard every 
tradition which they held dear, to renounce 
allegiance to their King, separate from the great 
English Empire, make formal alliance with their 
enemy, France, and create a Union of which 
each had been but too jealous. 

The Constitution of the United States was not 
the deliberate wish of the people, but was created 
by their necessities ; it met no one's entire approval, 

196 The War and Humanity 

was only adopted after bitter debates of four 
months' duration, and was the result of a com- 
promise begotten by the stern and pressing 
necessities of the situation. Only a choice between 
chaos and a Constitution induced the jarring, 
discordant, and jealous States to surrender any 
portion of their sovereignty, and yet this Constitu- 
tion, in its present form the child of no brain and 
the creation of no wish, is the admiration of the 
world, and has been pronounced by the most 
scholarly statesman of our time, to have been 
"the most perfect ever struck off by the brain 
and purpose of man at a given time." 

Nor has this truth been less marked in our own 
time and generation. The Emancipation Pro- 
clamation clearly violated the traditional policy 
af America which recognized the existence of 
slavery. Jefferson's stern denunciation of the 
slave trade, which he had inserted in the first 
draft of the great Declaration, was stricken out by 
Congress, and the Constitution itself distinctly 
recognized the existence of this baleful domestic 
institution. Its destruction was not due to the 
conscious and deliberate purpose of any statesman. 
Lincoln at the beginning of his administration 
distinctly disclaimed any purpose to interfere 
with it, and it was not until the blood, which had 

Foreign Policy of Washington 197 

been shed from Bull Run to Antietam, cried as 
from the ground that again this tradition was 
destroyed. No one recognized this more cleariy 
than did the great war President, and in his second 
inaugural he plainly voiced his beUef that not only 
the removal of slavery but the Civil War itself 
had come by no human wisdom, but by a divine 

BHnd adherence to tradition is not the highest 
patriotism but is a form of intellectual slavery 
unworthy of a free and progressive people. The 
God of Nations never intended that wisdom 
should die either with any man, generation, race, 
or epoch. Least of any people should America 
doubt the "increasing purpose of the ages" and 
the "widening of thought with the process of the 

The founders of the Republic recognized that 
wise nations, as wise individuals, change their 
minds when occasion justifies, but fools never. 
We should not attribute to them an infallibility 
which they did not claim for themselves. 

The decadence of Spain, which cost her the 
empire of the world, was due to her "inordinate 
tenacity of old opinions, old beUefs, and old 
habits," which Buckle finds to be her predomi- 
nant national characteristic. He adds: 

198 The War and Humanity 

By encouraging the notion that all the truths 
most important to know are already known, they 
repress those aspirations and dull that generous 
confidence in the future without which nothing 
really great can be achieved. A people who regard 
the past with too wistful an eye will never bestir 
themselves to help the arm of progress. To them 
iniquity is wisdom and every improvement is a 
dangerous innovation. 

Even if a fair interpretation of all that Washing- 
ton wrote justified the belief that not only tempor- 
arily but permanently he opposed any departure 
from the policy of isolation, yet the present 
generation of Americans, living under widely 
different circumstances than those that prevailed 
at the beginning of the Republic, would neces- 
sarily be constrained to decide questions of foreign 
policy in the light of the living present rather than 
of the past, for "new occasions teach new duties" 
and time may "make ancient good uncouth. " 

To hold a virile and masterful people in the 
leash of an obsolete tradition is impossible. 
Sooner or later it will break free and run its 
destined course. 

It is clearly tmjust to the memory of Wash- 
ington to attribute to him, who broke with the 
traditions of his day, a policy of timid subser- 
vience to obsolete traditions. 

Foreign Policy of Washington 199 

Remembering his masterful nature and the 
courage with which he adapted his course to 
circumstances, it is inconceivable that Washing- 
ton, if his hand were today upon" the helm of 
power, would permit his country to pursue any 
selfish and ignoble course. 

If he re-entered today the beautiful Capital, 
which so fittingly bears his name, and learned 
how that "rank due to the United States among 
nations," which he so confidently predicted for 
it, had been impaired by the unatoned murder 
for over twelve months of American citizens 
on the high seas, I think he would give to the 
man or men responsible for this betrayal of the 
best ideals of American diplomacy, such a look 
as he gave Charles Lee upon the battlefield of 

If Washington's foreign policy be thus in part 
limited to his times and the then prevailing con- 
ditions, yet other parts are of such eternal verity 
as to be a chart for his successors for all time. 
Thus he says : 

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. 
Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion 
and morality enjoin this conduct, and can it be that 
good policy docs not equally enjoin it? It will be 
worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant 
period, a great nation to give to mankind the mag- 

200 The War and Humanity 

nanimous and too novel example of a people always 
guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. 

That is a policy whose infinite truth and value 
"time cannot wither or custom stale." This is the 
chart by which America can be safely guided 
throughout all future time. To observe that policy 
in its spirit and in its letter is to be true to Washing- 
ton, and if thus true, America cannot then be false 
to any nation. Such is Washington's counsel 
to this generation of Americans, for the words 
of his Farewell Message are instinct with im- 
mortal life and will outHve all the utterances of 
Hving Americans. 

If Washington thus enjoins his countrymen to 
"cultivate peace and harmony" with other nations 
it is only when he has first admonished them to 
"observe good faith and justice." Justice is not 
a mere negation. It is not satisfied merely by in- 
action. It is a positive, affirmative force, which 
entails active duties as well as passive rights. 

What were Washington's views in the last days 
of his life, and of the eighteenth century? 

Europe was then rocking with revolution. Na- 
poleon had destroyed the last remnant of free 
government and had seized the reins of power as 
First Consul. All Europe was uniting against him 

Foreign Policy of Washington 201 

and'^mankind was destined to see fifteen years of 
bloody strife, which were only to culminate on the 
field of Waterloo.' 

While Washington was not destined to see this, 
for he died shortly before Napoleon won his 
great victory on the plains of Marengo, yet we 
can imagine the old soldier in his retirement at 
Mount Vernon following with eager vision the 
extraordinary developments in the Old World and 
the rising career of the new Caesar. Can we not 
imagine him in that last autumn of his life, 
seated on his porch in the gathering twilight, 
— emblematic of the dying day of his life — and 
silently gazing upon the Potomac, as it moved 
toward the sea, a symbol of the infinite mystery 
of Time?^ 

It was on such an October evening a few months 
before he died, with the autumn leaves falling 
from the trees upon the green lawns of his much- 
loved home, that he retired to his study and wrote 
in a letter to a friend his last expression of opinion 
as to the affairs of the world, and what he thus 
wrote could be applied with such rare propriety 
to the conditions of the present hour, as ex- 
pressing what would be his opinion if he were 
alive today, that I shall venture to quote it. 
He said: 

202 The War and Humanity 

The affairs of Europe have taken a most impor- 
tant and interesting turn. What will be the final 
results of the uninterrupted successes of the com- 
bined army ... it is not for a man at a distance 
of 3000 miles from the great theatre of action to 
predict, but he may wish, and ardently wish from 
principles of humanity, and for the benevolent pur- 
pose of putting a stop to the further effusion of 
human blood that the successful Powers may know 
at what point to give cessation to the sword for the 
purpose of negotiation. . . . My own wish is to 
see everything settled upon the best and surest 
foundation for the peace and happiness of mankind 
without regard to this, that, or the other nation. A 
'more destructive sword never was drawn, at least in 
modem times, than this war has produced. It is 
time to sheathe it and give peace to mankind. 

Thus spoke and still speaks the world's noblest 
citizen, and, notwithstanding the blackness of the 
present hour, to that ideal of peace mankind is 
steadily marching. At its head is still the great 
soldier, who, if "first in war," was also "first in 
peace"; for 

the path of the Just is as a shining light, that 
shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 



' Where there is no vision, the people perish. " — Isaiah. 



Few, if any, aspects of this great world crisis 
should give the thoughtful American greater 
concern than the altered attitude of other nations 
to his country. To provincial Americans the 
judgment of the world may be a matter of in- 
difference, but its more thoughtful citizens cannot 
ignore the portentous possibilities involved in 
this changed attitude. Apart from the practical 
possibihties of the new situation, in which the 
United States so suddenly finds itself, is the 
sentimental consideration that the United States 
no longer enjoys the respect and goodwill of 
the world in the same ungrudging measure as 

Those who affect indifference in this matter 

may well be reminded that in the very foundation 

of the United States its great founders, who were 

assuredly men of vision, recognized in the very 

preamble to the Declaration of Independence that 

a "decent respect to the opinions of mankind" 


2o6 The War and Humanity 

imposed upon this, as any nation, moral responsi- 
bilities and practical obligations. A nation can 
say quite as truly as an individual: 

*' Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, 

Is the immediate jewel of their souls. 

Who steals my purse steals trash. 'Tis something; 

'Twas mine; 'tis his; and has been slave to thou- 

But he that filches from me my good name 

Robs me of that which not enriches him 

And makes me poor indeed." 

This altered attitude of foreign nations towards 
the United States can be discussed from three 
angles, namely, the respective attitudes of the 
central powers, the allied powers, and the neutral 

So far as the Teutonic powers are concerned, 
the friendship, which they once had for the United 
States, is wholly gone, and a feeling of intense 
hatred has taken its place. The peoples of those 
nations feel, and with some justification, that we 
prevented their early and complete triumph, with 
all its immeasurable consequences, by supplying 
to the allied countries the indispensable munitions 
of war. America thus helped to negative the enor- 
mous advantage which forty years of efficient 

"Where There Is No Vision" 207 

pieparation had given Germany. It is possible 
that if the United States had not sent to Eng- 
land, France, and Russia more than a bilUon 
dollars' worth of war supplies, those nations 
might have failed in their great struggle through 
a fatal disparity in war equipment. 

This possibility the Teutonic Empires have 
magnified into a certainty and have thus at- 
tributed the defeat of their aims and the colos- 
sal losses, which they have sustained, to the 
practical intervention of the United States 
through the utilization by the Allies of its vast 
industrial energies. In a purely technical sense, 
the United States has been neutral, but in a practi- 
cal sense it has been a benevolent ally to England, 
France, and Russia in coming to their aid with its 
vast financial and industrial resources. 

If this were not enough, our threat to sever 
diplomatic relations, if the Teutonic powers did 
not cease their unlawful submarine activities, 
would amply explain the unquestioned hostile 
attitude of the Central Powers to the United 
States, for while the saner German statesmen may 
have recognized, as has the German Chancellor, 
that the submarine campaign, owing to the 
efficiency of the British Navy, has not met expec- 
tations, yet the masses of the German people 

2o8 The War and Humanity 

believe that the economic strangulation of Ger- 
many, due to the British blockade, could be 
prevented if Germany persisted in its submarine 
activities and succeeded in inflicting like suffer- 
ing upon the civilian population of England. 

"Gott straffe England — und Amerika" is now 
on the lips of thousands of Germans, and in the 
portentous years to come the United States will 
probably hear the echoes of a defeated and half- 
starving nation's curses. 

So far as the neutral nations are concerned, they 
looked at the beginning of this struggle to the 
United States, as the greatest of the neutral 
nations, to voice as a leader the moral authority of 
civilization, and to a considerable extent they 
looked in vain. As a result the United States has 
fallen in their estimation from the high place 
which it once occupied as the land of exalted 

The attitude of the allied nations towards the 
United States is one of disappointment and dis- 
illusion. They do not feel hostile to the United 
States, but, on the contrary, for practical and 
sentimental reasons sincerely desire its friendship. 
They are eager to learn the American point of 
view and are quite willing to take into considera- 
tion any circumstances which explain the negative 

"Where There Is No Vision" 209 

attitude of the United States in the greatest moral 
crisis of civilization. They partly understand 
the historical reasons which made inevitable the 
American policy of neutrality, but they fail to 
understand why, when the very foundations of 
civilization are crumbling, the United States, with 
its traditional devotion to the loftiest humani- 
tarianism, should remain silent and inactive. 
Undoubtedly they do not take sufhciently into 
account the extraordinary difficulties of America's 
position in this world crisis, nor do they appreciate 
at their full value either the extraordinary services 
which the United States has rendered to the cause 
of the Allies or the unselfish motives which per- 
mitted the industrial energies of America to be 
harnessed in their behalf. 

Deeply impressed with this fact, the author 
went to England in the summer of 1916 and made 
nine addresses in England and one in Paris, in 
which he endeavourfed to show that the growing 
resentment in England and France towards the 
United States was not justified. The reader will 
find in a later portion of this volume the principal 
address which the author made in England (pp. 
249-270). The very favourable reception which 
this and similar addresses received in England and 
France and the extent to which it contributed to 


210 The War and Humanity 

the modification of this hostile attitude evidence 
the sincere desire of the English and French peo- 
ples to understand the American point of view 
and to remain the friends of America. 

The address, however, was avowedly only half of 
a truth. The author did not attempt to discuss, 
for reasons which he explained, the failure of the 
Wilson Administration to play a part in this 
world struggle commensurate with America's power 
and destiny. As von Bethmann-Hollweg's phrase 
"a scrap of paper" will be regarded for generations 
to come as expressing in a few words the spirit 
of Germany in provoking this war, similarly Mr. 
Wilson's most unfortunate phrase, "too proud to 
fight" will be accepted by posterity as express- 
ing in a single phrase the policy of the Wilson 

The fact is undeniable that the United States 
has missed its supreme opportunity to assume the 
moral leadership of the world, and it has paid the 
penalty of its inaction by an immeasurable im- 
pairment in its prestige as a great power. Fortu- 
nately this loss is not necessarily permanent and 
it is not too late for the United States to vindicate 
its position in civilization as one of the Master 
States of the world. 

It would not be just to attribute this temporary 

"Where There Is No Vision" 211 

failure wholly to timid and unwise leadership. Un- 
doubtedly the primary cause of America's inactive 
attitude is the fact that the Wilson Administration 
had neither vision nor courage. President Wilson, 
fresh from his classroom at Princeton, was neither 
by temperament nor education in statecraft fitted 
to guide his nation in one of the stormiest crises of 
human history. He beUeved that he could dispose 
of any crisis by evading it with a phrase, much as 
Mr. Micawber rejoiced that another debt was 
paid when he gave his creditor a new note. But 
this timid, shifting, vacillating leadership would 
not have been tolerated unless it had had some 
sanction in public opinion, for the fact seems 
imdeniable that while a very great majority of the 
American people did sympathize with the Allies 
and were willing to contribute to their cause as 
individuals, yet at no time did a majority dissent 
to the policy of inaction, which was believed by 
many to have its full justification in keeping the 
United States out of the war. 

This attitude of the American people was not 
due, as so many foreign critics think, either to 
avarice, selfishness, or cowardice. None of these 
traits is characteristic of the American people. 
The love of gain exercised little, if any, influ- 
ence upon their decision nor was this nation in 

212 The War and Humanity 

any respect inspired by the spirit of cowardice, 
even though its administrators did, when the moral 
authority of the Republic was mocked by disloyal 
aliens, suggest as an excuse for inaction the craven 
policy of "safety first." The reason lies much 
deeper and seems to me to be due to a certain lack 
of vision in the United States whenever its foreign 
relations are under consideration. 

The fact is that America through more than a 
century of intensive development has remained so 
introspective that it is difficult for it to consider 
any question in its just relations to the rest of 
the world. From the beginning it has been an 
isolated nation. The whole course of its national 
life has been introspective and the consequent re- 
striction of its political activities to purely domes- 
tic problems has tended to limit and impair its 
outward vision. 

Let me explain this by a literary analogy. A 
great German poet, Freiligrath, once said that 
Germany was Hamlet, and I think it was Lessing 
who said that Hamlet was an Englishman born in 
Germany. Time was when the analogy of Ger- 
many to the introspective and sentimental dreamer 
of Elsinore was altogether justified, for in the 
period of its history from the Napoleonic wars 
until the revolution of 1848, when the influence of 

** Where There Is No Vision" 213 

Prussia upon Germany was comparatively slight, 
and the German people were dominated by a wave 
of lofty and noble humanitarianism, there was 
much similarity between the sentimental and intro- 
spective Germany of that day and Shakespeare's 
amiable dreamer. But the Germany of Bismarck, 
wonderfully efficient and inordinately ambitious 
and aggressive, has now no resemblance to Hamlet. 

The real Hamlet of nations is America. It 
has the virtues and the faults of Shakespeare's 
amiable and attractive young Prince. It, too, 
"thinks too precisely upon the event," and how 
often in the last twelve months the "native hue of 
resolution has been sicklied o'er with the pale cast 
of thought." 

The keynote to the mystery of Hamlet was 
sounded partly by Goethe and partly by Cole- 
ridge. Goethe showed that the tragedy of Hamlet 
lay in the fact that although he was otherwise 
superbly equipped for the task imposed upon him 
by Heaven to avenge his murdered father and 
drive the usurper from the throne, he yet found 
himself through the deficiencies of his own nature 
unequal to the task, and could only cry in a tone 
of weak dejection : 

/'The time is out of joint, oh! cursed spite 
That ever I was born to set it right ! " 

214^ The War and Humanity 

Coleridge's more subtle and profound analysis 
explains the reason for this deficiency in the fact 
that every man should preserve a nice equilibrium 
between his subjective and his objective faculties, 
between introspective thought and the outer 
world of action, into which the healthy soul trans- 
mutes its thoughts and purposes. In Hamlet, 
Coleridge found ' ' an enormous intellectual activity 
and a proportionate aversion to real action." As 
Hamlet failed in his great mission and in dreamy 
introspection "let go by the important acting of 
the dread command," similarly the United States 
which in its foreign relations has always been a 
dreamer, failed in the greatest crisis of human 
history to exert an influence proportionate to its 
power and standing, largely because its soul has 
been introspective. Indeed the analogy could be 
pushed farther. The first folio reading makes the 
Queen say of Hamlet in the duel scene : 

"He's fat and scant of breath." 

Is not America's fine instinct of justice somewhat 
dulled by too much material prosperity ? 

It has for so many years exhausted its energies 
in purely domestic problems, and has enjoyed the 
ease of such amazing and superabundant wealth 
that it has found itself in this world-wide crisis ill- 

''Where There Is No Vision" 215 

adapted to meet the obvious responsibilities which 
that crisis had imposed upon it. 

The vastness of America tends to the localiza- 
tion of its thoughts and activities. When the 
Republic was born, and only extended from the 
Atlantic seaboard to the Alleghanies, it was 
believed by many responsible statesmen that it 
could not possibly long exist over so great an area 
as even the eastern border of the continent. 
Frederick the Great had said in 1772 that history 
could be searched in vain for a single instance 
where a Republican form of government had long 
existed over an extended area of territory. It is 
altogether probable that if it had not been for the 
steamship, the telegraph, the railroad, and the 
printing press, weaving together by the centripetal 
influences of steam and electricity the scattered 
communities of our country, that the prediction of 
Frederick the Great would have been justified. 

These elemental economic forces have created a 
reasonable unity of spirit in America's domestic 
problems, but in the matter of exterior relations, 
many of its people still take in the full noontide of 
the twentieth century a very parochial view of 
world politics. 

One result of the wide variety of local conditions 
is its dual form of government, which seeks to 

2i6 The War and Humanity 

decentralize authority and carry the principle of 
local autonomy to the furthest possible limit. In 
practice, if not in theory, the United States has 
been in the past a congeries of nations. A con- 
glomeration is not necessarily a unit, as it has 
found to its cost in the last two fateful years. 

The heterogeneous character of its population, 
representing as it does the blood of all the great 
European nations, necessarily impairs that sense 
of homogeneity, without which the unity of a 
people cannot be fully developed. The United 
States has given hostages to every civilized nation, 
whose subjects have crowded to its shores and 
become citizens, that it will not antagonize the 
land of their nativity even in a just cause, and 
while this makes for peace, yet its influence as a 
world power thereby suffers an inevitable emascu- 
lation in power and dignity. 

A striking evidence of the parochial character 
of American politics is shown by the indifference 
with which, until recent years, the American people 
evaded the subject of military preparedness. 

At the end of the Civil War the United States 
was the first military power of the world. It had 
at that time a trained and equipped army of a 
million men. Few armies of equal size could at 
that time be instanced, but the great army of 

"Where There Is No Vision" 217 

Grant, after the final review in the city of Wash- 
ington, quietly melted into civil life and thereafter 
and until the Spanish-American War, the United 
States had an army which barely exceeded in 
numbers the police force of New York. Its navy, 
too, was almost non-existent until in Mr. Cleve- 
land's Administration its rebuilding began. 

This policy of unpreparedness was the more 
extraordinary as the history of the United States 
was replete with instances which demonstrated 
its folly. One of the gratifying evidences that 
America is at last awakening from its dream of 
isolation is the swift development of the present 
move towards military preparedness; but it has 
not been sufficiently rapid to prepare the nation 
adequately for the possible eventuaHties of the 
coming years. Moreover, may it not be as evan- 
escent as an emotional religious revival? Unless 
America shall gain a wider vision of its duties 
and potentiaUties as a world power, the reply 
must be in the affirmative. 

The fact that the United States was for nearly a 
year on the very brink of war with Germany and 
that it did not lie exclusively in America to deter- 
mine whether peaceful relations should continue, 
did not give to the movement for preparedness the 
impetus which could be reasonably expected in a 

2i8 The War and Humanity 

nation which is not introspective. The indifference 
to external danger made our Government in- 
different to the necessity of preparation. When 
the clouds had commenced to gather and a war 
with Germany was possible any day, President 
Wilson for a time behttled the movement for pre- 
paredness and denied its necessity, and it was not 
until the crisis had lasted for some months that he 
suddenly shifted his position and advocated the 
movement for preparedness. 

That preparedness is an indispensable policy, if 
America is to discard its policy of isolation and 
play the part in the great drama of history to which 
its greatness entitles it, is clear to those who, with 
expert knowledge, have considered the ability of 
the United States to defend itself from attack. 

To these it is clear that its navy cannot alone 
relieve the United States from the necessity of mili- 
tary preparation. The fact that it is in the most 
favourable view the third navy of the world in 
itself shows that at least two nations could attack 
the United States with superior force at sea. It 
must guard two oceans and 21,000 miles of coast 
Hne, and as the invader could probably select the 
time and place of the invasion, it is obvious that 
America could not safely rely upon its full naval 
strength at any one point of attack. 

"Where There Is No Vision" 219 

What then as to its land defences ? 

Fourteen years ago the then Secretary of War 
appointed a General Staff for the Army. This 
General Staff, composed of experts who had given 
their lives to a careful study of the problem and 
who first sought the opinion of nearly every officer 
of the Army, formulated a report in the year 19 12, 
which until the present time has made little, if 
any, impression upon the American people, and, 
but for the events of the last two years prob- 
ably never would have. 

This report showed, among other things, that it 
was possible for at least three of the great nations 
of the world, within ten to thirty days, to put 
an army ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 men 
upon the shores of America, and in that they 
were confirmed by the ablest military authorities 
of the world, namely, the German General Staff, 
who in their unceasing study of military problems 
before the present war, had, let us hope as a purely 
academic problem, reached the conclusion that 
they could put within ten days approximately 
200,000 men upon the Atlantic Coast. 

In 1916, the experts of the United States War 
College made a much more specific calculation, 
based upon the existing tonnage of the two na- 
tions, which were taken to work out the problem. 

220 The War and Humanity 

They found that Germany, utilizing only one-half 
of such total possible tonnage, could land on the 
Atlantic shores 387,000 men and 81,000 animals 
within sixteen days and 440,000 additional men 
within thirty days thereafter, while Japan could 
land over 95,000 men and 24,000 animals within 
twenty-three days on the Pacific coast, and 
142,000 additional men and 36,000 animals within 
forty-one days thereafter. 

The General Staff in the report of 191 2 then con- 
sidered what forces the United States had to oppose 
such an invasion, and, leaving aside the qnestion of 
what the Navy might possibly do, they found that 
the Army of the United States numbered about 
90,000 men. Of these 18,000 were necessarily de- 
tailed to the coast fortifications, and after elimina- 
ting about 38,000 men, who inadequately guard 
America's far-flung colonial possessions, there 
remained as a possible mobile army not more than 
49,000 men. Allowing for useless army posts, the 
mobile army, which would mainly oppose such an 
invasion, would not exceed 35,000 men. 

These figures are somewhat increased by small 
additions to the Army since 191 2 and a sub- 
stantial but wholly inadequate increase has been 
made in 191 6, but the poverty of America's 
military resources remains unaltered and unques- 

"Where There Is No Vision" 221 

tionable. This was strikingly shown in the Summer 
of 19 1 6, when it required all this mobile force and 
the National Guard to protect the Mexican fron- 
tier from roving bandits. 

Prior to the critical period, through which we are 
now passing, it had been supposed that the trans- 
portation of large armies across the ocean would be 
a practical impossibility, and the acquiescence of 
the American people, until within the last twelve 
months, in the defenceless state of America was 
presumably predicated in part upon this belief. 
England transported over one hundred and thirty 
thousand men across the English Channel within 
ten days with scant preliminary preparation, and 
while the exact figures are unknown, it must 
have transported to the Dardanelles at least three 
hundred thousand men within an incredibly short 
space of time. Over two hundred thousand men 
were transported by England to South Africa in 
the Boer War, a longer journey than from Europe 
to America. England has transported in the last 
two years more than a million and a half men 
across the English channel. 

These recent instances show that the oceans are 
no longer impassable barriers for the once isolated 
American nation, but on the contrary the smoothest 
and most open of pathways to any invader, alwaj^s 

222 The War and Humanity 

assuming that its naval defence shall for any reason 
break down. 

The United States also has a State militia, esti- 
mated to be about 120,000 men, of whom this 
General Staff, after a very careful inquiry, estimated 
about 86,000 to be reasonably effective and avail- 
able soldiers. But even adding the National Guard 
to the 35,000 mobile troops of the Regular Army, 
there would then be in the most optimistic view 
about 120,000 men, scattered over a vast continent, 
to meet an invasion, which in the case of either 
Japan or Germany could easily consist of over 
250,000 men. 

The United States has, it is true, coast defences, 
some of which are very effective in one direction, 
the approach by the sea. 

Sandy Hook, one of the most powerful coast 
defences in America, is, for example, chiefly valu- 
able in defending the entrance of New York harbour 
against an invading fleet. An army landing, as 
the United States army landed in Cuba, from 
transports at any point on the New Jersey 
coast could very readily take Sandy Hook from 
the rear, unless it were guarded by an effective 
land force, and the other defences of New York 
might speedily crumble by a similar attack from 
the rear. 

"Where There Is No Vision" 223 

Thus the most opulent city of the country could 
be speedily taken by the invaders. 

Equally vulnerable and undefended Is Philadel- 
phia, a great commercial and manufacturing city, 
from which the intersecting railways from New York 
to the south and west could be cut off with little 
difficulty, if that city were once captured by an 
invading foe. The fortifications that guard this 
city of a million and a half people are guarded by 
220 men, manning three forts, of which two (Fort 
Delaware and Fort Mott) are virtually in the 
hands of caretakers. The remaining fort (Fort 
Dupont) has 186 men to guard the prosperous 
cities of the Delaware. 

In the official report of Brigadier-General 
Weaver, Chief of Coast Artillery, made public on 
December 17, 19 15, it is stated that the coast de- 
fences of the United States need over 21,000 men 
to equip them, and General Weaver adds that in 
their present undermanned condition, these coast 
defences "would prove a source of positive danger 
instead of protection. " 

Under the policy, as formulated in 1908, Amer- 
ica's coast defences were to be manned one-half by 
regulars and one-half by the state militia, and 
the little dependence that can be placed upon the 
latter may be measured by the fact that the States 

224 The War and Humanity 

have not furnished, as late as December, 19 15, 
within ten thousand of their quota. 

General Weaver adds that guns that cost over 
$40,000,000 are unmanned, and that there are 128 
important guns without men behind them. Thus 
only one-half of the ten-inch cannon have anyone 
to fire them. If fired simultaneously there is not 
enough powder to fire the coast-defence guns a 
single hour. 

The American Army is also singularly deficient 
in the most approved appliances of war, such as 
the aeroplanes. These are the eyes of the Army 
and without them modern artillery loses half of 
its effectiveness. The author, in the last week of 
July, 1 91 6, was privileged to witness for three 
days the battle of the Somme and although only a 
layman in military matters, he was deeply im- 
pressed with the fact that the consistent successes 
of the English and French in that titanic battle were 
due in part to the mastery of the air. During 
that period I saw few German aeroplanes cross 
the Allies' lines, but each day I saw many of the 
Allies' cross from hour to hour to the German 
lines and direct the artillery fire. 

Undoubtedly the aeroplane has thus revolution- 
ized the art of warfare. Without their use the great- 
est artillery is Hke the blinded giant in the Odyssey. 

"Where There Is No Vision" 225 

It is strange that America, which invented the 
aeroplane, should be the slowest of nations to 
utilize its infinite possibilities. 

Wilbur and Orville Wright, who, working si- 
lently in their bicycle repair shop in Dayton, 
Ohio, realized the dream of Leonardo da Vinci 
and made possible the aeroplane, with which man 
outflies the eagles of the air, fully saw the mar- 
vellous possibilities of their invention, for little 
has been done in this war by the aeroplane that 
Wilbur Wright did not predict to the author on the 
night when that great inventor made the first 
flight over the Harbor of New York, flying from 
Governor's Island to Grant's Tomb. And yet it 
has been stated, and not denied, that the Army 
of the United States, in its recent operations in 
Mexico, had at first only ten aeroplanes, and of 
these only a few were fit for service. 

The author visited one of the manufactories of 
aeroplanes in France, at which 2000 men were 
employed and in which there were at least 500 
aeroplanes of various kinds, awaiting transport to 
the front. 

The lack of interest in America in the develop- 
ment of the aeroplane, where it was invented, 
is but another illustration of the indisposition 

of the American people, due to their habit of 

226 The War and Humanity 

introspection, to consider any adequate military 

The inventive genius of America is not at fault, 
for nearly every invention, which has revolution- 
ized the art of war in the present conflict, is due 
to America. The steamship, the telegraph, the 
cable, the submarine, the telephone, the machine 
gun, the aeroplane, and, it is claimed, even the 
steel-sheathed motor trucks, which, like gigantic 
Dinosaurs, have only recently moved across the 
battlefield, are all the product of American in- 
ventors, as an American diplomat recently took 
occasion to remind a German diplomat who was 
asserting the dependence of America upon Ger- 
many for its industrial inventions. 

America is capable of being the first military 
power in the world. Apart from the inventive 
genius of its people, it has a virile population 
of a high degree of intelligence, out of which, 
as was shown in the great Civil War, an army 
can be fashioned second to none in courage and 

Apart from the present disparity in the military 
resources of the United States and those of any 
one of the great Powers, two significant facts 
must be borne in mind. 

The first is the tendency of nations to fight in 

"Where There Is No Vision" 22^ 

groups. This fact makes it improbable that if 
America shall become involved in a war with any 
foreign power, that that foreign power would 
fight alone, while America, with its opposition 
to "entangling alliances," would probably be 
obliged to rely upon its own resources. It is not 
impossible that America might be simultaneously 
attacked on the east by some great European 
power and on the west by an Oriental power, 
and its defensive strength would thereby be 
cut in half, especially as the continuing use of 
the Panama Canal seems conjectural. 

The second significant fact is that future wars, 
the possibility of which must necessarily be as- 
sumed in view of the intense hatreds engendered 
by the present conflict between leading nations, 
will be fought on an even larger scale than the 
present unprecedented conflict. The prospect 
for humanity in this aspect is literally appalling. 
A distinguished Russian General has had sufficient 
courage to look into the abysmal future and he 
makes a prediction which may well stagger human- 
ity, even though his prophecies may be in part 

In the Russkoje Slowo, General Skugarewski, 
commander of the Russian infantry now fighting 
on the eastern front, says: 

228 The War and Humanity 

It is Impossible to predict now the outcome of 
the present war, but nevertheless we can readily 
picture in our minds what the next war will be like. 
It will follow directly on the heels of the present 
conflict. How soon this new war will begin depends 
on how the present war will end and who will be 
the victors. If Germany is not thoroughly defeated, 
another war will be likely within ten years. In 
the meantime every country will be busy preparing 
for it. That coming war will surpass the present 
in f rightfulness ; in fact, the present conflict will be 
like child's play compared to what can be expected 
in the next war. 

The question is, What kind of an army will 
Russia be able to put into the next war? In ten 
years the population of Russia will be 200,000,000, 
Germany's about 100,000,000. In Russia, there- 
fore, an army of 40,000,000 men will be available 
and in Germany barely 20,000,000. 

For any army of 40,000,000 men at least 300,000 
officers are required, and to provide for this all 
young men should be trained and schooled to be- 
come officers. In all schools and colleges military 
instruction should be included among the other 
studies. In this army of 40,000,000 there will 
be 30,000,000 infantry, 2,000,000 cavalry, 5,000,000 
artillery, and the remainder in engineer and special 
troops. The equipment will consist of 100,000 
big guns, 1,000,000 machine guns, and 10,000 auto- 
mobile trucks and ammunition wagons. 

In this state of affairs, three alternatives present 
themselves to the United States. 

** Where There Is No Vision" 229 

The first is to make no preparation. The second 
is to make an inadequate preparation, and the 
third is to make adequate preparation. 

Its policy throughout its history has consistently 
been that of inadequate preparation. 

As between the first two alternatives of no pre- 
paration whatever or of inadequate preparation, 
the former is preferable. 

If America prefers in a spirit of blind optimism 
to rely upon the fact that it has no aggressive pur- 
pose toward any nation, and upon the other fact, 
which is not so clear, that no nation will ever have 
any aggressive purpose with reference to it, or if 
they do, that it will simply "carry in its right 
hand gentle peace to silence envious tongues" and 
more hostile hands, then the policy of no prepara- 
tion has at least something to commend it as com- 
pared with the plan of inadequate defence, for at 
least it would save many lives. If with its inade- 
quate resources it should be suddenly plunged 
into war — and all modem wars come with mar- 
vellous suddenness — the defence of its soil with 
an inferior navy, or an inadequate army, would 
in these times, when war is a matter of chemistry, 
mechanics, and organization, involve a useless 
sacrifice of life and treasure. 

To subject its soldiers and sailors, as Spain did 

230 The War and Humanity 

its inadequate fleet, when it ordered Cervera 
and his squadron from the ports of Spain to the 
West Indies in order to satisfy national honour, 
knowing that these ships would be annihilated by- 
guns of longer range, may have some sanction in 
national pride, but it is nevertheless a wholly 
unnecessary sacrifice, for the ultimate result to 
the nation would be the same. 

In fact, if the United States made no opposition 
at all, but as non-resistants, welcomed the invader 
with the open arms of friendship, and trusted to 
his magnanimity and generosity, the terms of 
peace would probably be less humiliating than if it 
sent an unequal army and navy against the over- 
powering resources of nations, which have made 
their preparations for war a matter of life and death. 

The art of war has been revolutionized within 
vhe last hundred years. Danton could say at the 
beginning of the French Revolution to arouse the 
people: "Dare! again dare! and evermore dare!" 
The Republican hosts of France arose in that 
spirit, and when war was a matter of man to man 
and foe saw the face of foe, it was quite pos- 
sible, from the mere spirit of " daring " to use 
Danton's phrase, to carry it through successfully. 
Today war is a matter of mechanics, chemistry, 
transportation, and organization. Thus we would 

"Where There Is No Vision" 231 

have to paraphrase the words of Danton and 
say, "Organize, and again organize, and ever- 
more organize," because an army that lacks 
the mechanics of war is worse than no army 
at all. 

Mr. William J. Bryan, the most noted of the 
extreme pacifists, has deprecated the necessity for 
any preparation, and is quoted as suggesting that, 
if America were attacked, a million men would 
spring to arms between sunrise and sunset. He 
adds that the money that the nation would spend 
in increasing its army could more profitably build 
twelve great roads from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 

Magnificent idea ! It would be along those very 
roads that the invader would march to the very 
heart of our country. Said Solomon: "Seest thou 
a man who is hasty in his words? There is more 
hope in a fool than in him. " 

A nation cannot improvise an army after a de- 
claration of war, any more than, if an epidemic 
were raging, it could improvise a medical staff, or, 
if a great conflagration should visit a city, im- 
provise a fire department. 

If there is one thing that the last eighteen 
months have demonstrated, it is the unquenchable 
valour and magnificent endurance of France. The 
French people, in 1870, were as brave as they 

232 The War and Humanity 

are today, but they were not prepared. Their 
system of mobilization was so imperfect that in 
some instances its soldiers travelled several hun- 
dred miles in one direction to receive their 
equipment and then returned to join their regi- 
ments twenty miles from where they started. 
At the outbreak of the war, when the Minis- 
ter of War was asked by Napoleon the Third 
whether everything was ready, the former re- 
plied that if the war lasted a whole year, the 
French Army would not need so much as a gaiter 

Three weeks after the declaration of war, out 
of three hundred and thirty thousand soldiers 
on paper, only two hundred thousand actually 
mobiHzed. The reserves had had only one 
month's training and, in consequence, did not 
know the use of the new type of rifle that 
had been introduced. Many brigades and di- 
visions did not know where their commanders 
were and many commanders did not know where 
their divisions were. Supplies were wholly lack- 
ing. "We need everything," said General Failly. 
"We are in want of everything," echoed Ba- 
zaine. Thirty-eight bakers were sent to feed one 
hundred and thirty thousand men. Maps of 
Germany were in abundance, but not a single map 

"Where There Is No Vision" ,233 

of France. The General Staff did not even have 
a plan. Bazaine afterwards said that if there 
was a plan, he had not learned of it when he 

The result was the most terrible debdcle in his- 
tory. Paris fell, notwithstanding the valour of its 
people and not until they had literally fed upon the 
dogs in the streets, but nothing could stand against 
the equal valour and superbly developed organi- 
zation of a people, who knew so exactly what 
they were to do that the story is familiar of the 
elder von Moltke, who, after the war had been 
declared, simply pointed to a pigeonhole, contain- 
ing a plan of campaign prepared years before, 
and then resumed his game of solitaire. This 
is probably an exaggeration, but the underly- 
ing idea is symptomatic. Had there been a 
similar unpreparedness in France in 1 9 14 the 
result would have been the same, without respect 
to the justice of its cause. 

The author reached Paris on the night of 
July 31st, 191 4, and the next night mobiliza- 
tion was declared. The declaration of war was 
followed in France as in Germany, by a magni- 
ficent demonstration of the power of an efficient 

As a result, within the fourteen days which Ger- 

234 The War and Humanity 

many and France allowed for purposes of mobiliza- 
tion, Germany had in all probability over two 
millions of trained and equipped soldiers in the 
field, nearly a million of whom were poured 
through Belgium, while France had probably a 
million and a half equally efficient soldiers in 
arms. If America, with its 35,000 mobile sol- 
diers and its national guard of 120,000 on paper, 
with its coast defences lacking powder for even 
a day's firing, were confronted with the trained 
and equipped soldiers of either France or Ger- 
many, it might again suffer the terrible humili- 
ation that its Capital suffered over one hundred 
years ago when the trained veterans of Welling- 
ton marched from the Chesapeake to the Capital 
in a few days and burned its public buildings to 
ashes with a loss of only forty lives. 

The dreadful prolongation of the present war, 
with its unprecedented toll of human life, is the 
tragedy of military unpreparedness, for France, 
England, and Russia were not fully prepared as 
compared with Germany to meet the strenuous 
necessities of this titanic conflict, and even 
Germany greatly miscalculated the tremendous 
drain which a prolonged war would make upon 
its material resources. 

The war has had few greater tragedies than the 

"Where There Is No Vision" 235 

dreadful disaster which befell the Russian Army, 
after its victorious march through Galicia and 
across the Carpathians, when it was driven back 
and decimated because of its lack of equipment. 
Russia's inability to furnish its soldiers with even 
a sufficient number of small arms cost it at least a 
million soldiers. 

England, too, was not ready, and its small but 
splendid expeditionary force was quickly swal- 
lowed up in the gigantic struggle, for which its 
forces, however brave, were painfully inadequate. 
Had England been ready, the war might never 
have been. 

Even France was not fully prepared as to equip- 
ment, and it is believed by many military experts 
that if General Joffre had had an adequate supply 
of munitions, the battle of the Marne would have 
been even more decisive and the invaders would 
have been driven back to their frontiers. 

Possibly half of the tragedies of history are due 
to military unpreparedness and in no way has the 
solemn warning of Isaiah been more strikingly 
illustrated: "Where there is no vision, the people 
perish. " 

Unless the movement in America for military 
preparedness is sustained by the same spirit of 
patriotism, unity, and efficient co-operation as was 

236 The War and Humanity 

shown in the mobilization of France in August, 
1914, then any reform in the United States will 
be sporadic. Sooner or later men will quarrel 
with increased taxation, and the immediate possi- 
bility of war not being apparent, the present 
movement may unhappily prove to be one of 
these temporary agitations, quickly begun and 
as quickly abandoned in Congress when it has 
served the purpose of self-seeking politicians. 

Unless, therefore, the American people can feel 
the necessity of adequate defence, and each citizen 
feels that it is a matter of civic obligation, as in 
Switzerland, to co-operate in some form for the 
defence of the nation, then the movement will lack 
motive power, and after being a " nine days' won- 
der " will be defeated by lack of public interest. 

Again to quote Solomon : ' ' He that being often 
reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be 
destroyed and that without remedy." 

Can a great patriotic people, as the American 
people are, proud of their glorious past, exultant in 
their present condition of unequalled prosperity, 
and confident of their future, lack that spirit of 
intense civic patriotism, without which no nation 
could possibly do that which France, England, 
and Germany have done in such a remarkable 
way in the year 19 14? 

"Where There Is No Vision " 237 

The answer cannot be given by reference to a 
glorious past or to material prosperity. There 
is much more in the "vision" of a people than 
in trade statistics or census enumerations. Un- 
less the men of America shall have the same 
spirit as France to defend their existence as a 
nation, then they will be as a people that having 
no vision will sooner or later, even if they do not 
utterly perish, suffer humiliation such as they 
have never yet known. 

America's difficulty in having this vision lies 
in the fact that it is naturally insular in spirit. It 
thinks in the terms of a nation situated between 
two great bodies of water; and as the water that 
flows about the British Isles has profoundly af- 
fected the temper and policy of that people, the ob- 
session of these two oceans, stretching to the east 
and west, has created in America the consciousness 
of being an island remote from possible attack and 
surrounded by an impregnable rampart of water. 

This sense of insularity is intensified by its 
being "cribbed, cabined, and confined" by the 
political traditions of the eighteenth century. 
The tradition of its supposed isolation is almost 
as potent today as it was when Washington was 
President. America fails to see that it is the very 
heart of the world, wedged between the Occident 

238 The War and Humanity 

and the Orient, and that the sea, which was once 
such an impassable barrier, is now an open, un- 
obstructed pathway over which the marvellous 
fleets of war could freely pass. 

This parochial view blinds many Americans to 
the obvious fact that their nation not only will, 
but already has, been sucked into the maelstrom 
of this titanic conflict. While it may not become 
technically involved in the present war before it 
ends, yet it is already involved so far as it is a 
war of conflicting ideals. From the hatreds, pre- 
judices, feeHngs, antipathies, and interests that 
are the birth of these labour pains of humanity 
America cannot escape. 

The author has already discussed the influence 
upon America of the perverted application of 
Washington's doctrine of neutrality. If he were 
alive today and were the President of a nation of 
one hundred millions of people, the most power- 
ful potentially in the world, would he counsel 
such a parochial view and condemn his people to 
a policy of perpetual isolation? To reply affirm- 
atively is to attribute to the immortal spirit of 
Washington a lack of forethought and courage 
which his whole career entirely belies. 

The superficial character of scholastic education 
in America is one cause of this want of vision. In 

"Where There Is No Vision" 239 

its elementary schools a few basic facts of Ameri- 
can history are taught, and they are always facts 
that are pleasing to its national pride, and that is 
almost all that the average man learns of his coun- 
try's history. Take the ten leading colleges of 
America, and select the ten brightest students from 
the senior class, and then ask these one hundred 
boys a very vital incident of American history: 
"How did aid first come to America from France ? " 
Probably not five per cent, could answer the ques- 
tion correctly. And yet if it had not been for that 
aid from France the revolution might have ended 
in a fiasco. Nine out of ten men would probably 
reply that it was Dr. Franklin who first secured 
help from France. Long before Dr. Franklin ever 
reached Paris the colonists had been given secret 
aid from the arsenals of France with the conniv- 
ance of its government, then nominally a neutral. 
The man who first suggested to his nation the 
idea of helping the colonists in this manner was 
Beaumarchais, the witty author of The Barber of 
Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. 

How many Americans, as they sing the Star Span- 
gled Banner, recall the humiliating chapter of Ameri- 
can history, with which this stirring song of patri- 
otism is connected? A few days before had occurred 
the rout of the American Army at Bladensburg. 

240 The War and Humanity 

An American general, who was then in command 
and who was made the subject of a court-martial 
inquiry, testified that he was able to bring into 
the field only about 6000 men, all of whom 
were militia except about 400 regulars; that he 
could not collect more than half his men until 
a day or two before the engagement, and 700 
did not arrive until fifteen minutes before the 
engagement began, which was a little late; that 
the commanding officers were unknown to him, 
and only a small number had enjoyed the benefit 
of miHtary instruction or experience. 

Four days from the landing on Chesapeake Bay 
to the capture of the City of Washington was all 
that was required by the attacking force. The im- 
mediate terrain was a wooded one, and well adapted 
for defence. The British commander testified that 
the American Army at Bladensburg was "strongly 
posted on very commanding heights. " 

A few rockets, sent up over the heads of the 
untrained militia, plunged them into a panic of 
terror and they fled, leaving the artillery uncov- 
ered. The only redeeming feature was the 400 
trained artillery men, who fought bravely until 
they found that the drivers of the ammunition 
wagons had a pressing engagement in Washington 
and had also incontinently fled. 

"Where There Is No Vision" 241 

General Winder, the American officer in question, 
testified that after a short struggle "not a vestige 
remained of the army," and that all except the 400 
brave regulars had beaten a hasty retreat. 

The victors lost sixty-four killed and 185 
wounded, and the vanquished lost ten or twelve 
killed and forty wounded. The invaders burnt 
the Capitol and the Executive Mansion. The 
London Times contained a few weeks later an edi- 
torial saying that "Washington, the nest of vipers, 
was at last destroyed." That was a few days 
before the Star Spangled Banner was written. 

Americans can be proud that a small number 
of unseasoned militia did save Baltimore on that 
occasion, but is it not the part of wisdom to teach 
the American youth that while the flag on Fort 
McHenry did continue to wave, yet that military 
unpreparedness nearly brought the United States 
to ruin ? 

In the Revolutionary War there were 395,000 

enlistments, and yet Washington never had an 

army of more than 17,000 men to command, and 

that only at the beginning, and at one time only 

3,000 men remained to serve. Inspired by their 

noble chieftain, they contributed that noblest 

chapter of American heroism at Valley Forge, and 

redeemed those humiliating features of the Revolu- 

242 The War and Humanity 

tion which too many Americans complacently 

In the War of 18 12, there were 527,000 enlisted 
men on the American side and the utmost force 
that the British ever had was 55,000 and yet until 
the great but unnecessary triumph at New Orieans, 
the dubious successes of the American Army on 
land were largely redeemed by the very brilliant 
achievements of its small but efficient navy. May 
Americans one day see in their American colleges, 
whose success as social clubs cannot be gainsaid, 
a standing rule that no man shall receive a degree 
unless he has a working knowledge of the Con- 
stitution of the United States and can pass a real 
examination in the true history of his country! 

Again America's optimistic idealism further 
tends to obscure that clear vision, which its safety 
requires. Among these ideals is that of pacifism. 
The author has been in his life a consistent worker 
in the cause of international arbitration. He still 
believes in it. While it can never altogether end 
war, it can minimize its minor causes and when 
these occur, it provides the machinery for settling 
disputes with honour. 

The ideal of the pacification of humanity is a 
noble goal, toward which humanity must painfully 
toil. In this respect it can be said of civilization 

"Where There Is No Vision" 243 

that unless it have the true vision of peace, viz., 
peace with justice, it will perish. 

Americans are a pacific people, and it is not 
surprising, nor a matter of discredit, that shortly 
before this war it was enthusiastically negotiating 
and signing arbitration treaties, which went to the 
length of agreeing to arbitrate even questions of 
national honour. But while this spirit of humani- 
tarian idealism has its good side, it also has its 
unfortunate results. 

This beautiful vision of the pacification of 
humanity has to some extent blinded us to the 
fact that we are still living in a real world of very 
fallible men, in which all do not want justice and in 
which some nations plainly prefer injustice. Un- 
less a nation is prepared to acquiesce in wanton 
wrong, it must be prepared to defend itself. 

No human being can tell what mysterious birth 
will come from the awful travail of this titanic 
world-war. We do know, however, — and this fact 
is one never to be forgotten — that whereas before 
the beginning of this war the United States en- 
joyed in generous measure the good will of the 
greater part, if not all, the world, it is at least 
doubtful whether it has now the good will of any 
tonight, at least to the same extent as in past 
years. Its relations with the rest of the world have 

244 The War and Humanity 

experienced in the last two years the most extraor- 
dinary and portentous bouleversement. The nerves 
of the world, after this conflict is over, will be the 
nerves of a neurasthenic and very dangerous to 

It is always within the power of any foreign 
nation to involve the United States in war. If 
other pretexts were lacking, America has given a 
standing challenge to all the world. It is the 
Monroe Doctrine. 

Thereby it claims a moral protectorate over the 
entire Western Hemisphere. Such claim obviously 
has no sanction in international law and is only an 
assertion of what is supposed to be enlightened 
policy. If any nation wishes to quarrel with the 
United States it need only, for instance, purchase 
one of the West Indies. What would America 
then say? What could she safely say in her 
condition of comparative weakness? 

If the United States desires to take part in the 
League of Peace, to which I have already referred, 
must it not have an army and navy to contrib- 
ute to the enforcement of this joint responsi- 
bility of civilization? Can the United States 
enter the councils of the nations with nothing but 
an apology for an army? If it desires, as it 
should, to take the lead in such a league of nations, 

"Where There Is No Vision" 245 

it should be prepared to make good its part of the 
joint promise. 

Is the America of today capable of playing 
such a part ? Patriotic self-complacency prompts 
an unhesitating reply in the affirmative, but the 
events of the last two years should givethe can- 
did American pause forthought. 

Several years ago the author Vas in Rome and 
one evening, as the sun was setting, leaned over the 
parapet of the Pincian hill and saw the "Eternal 
City" in the glory of a dying day. The band 
was playing the Valhalla motif from the Gotter- 
dammerung of Wagner. Before me was the his- 
toric city, an epitome of the progress of mankind. 
There was the Coliseum, that remnant of imperial 
Rome, standing like a gigantic torso of Michel An- 
gelo. Then I turned to the west and saw the dome 
of St. Peter's, over which another great authority 
of today still rules so large a part of mankind. I 
thought of Republican Rome, and of the Rome of 
the Caesars and the Renaissance, the Rome of the 
Popes and of modem Italy, and with the majestic 
strains of the Valhalla motif sounding in my ears 
I wondered whether this were the "twilight of the 
gods" for this imperial city. 

Some months later, I read in Trevelyan's 
History of the Roman Republic these last words 

246 The War and Humanity 

of his introduction. He had just traced the pro- 
gress of the great uprising throughout Italy, and 
eloquently concluded: 

This has taught, what clearly cannot be learned 
from the pages of Ruskin and Symonds or any other 
of Italy's melodious mourners, that she is not dead 
but risen, that she contains not only ruins but men, 
that she is not the home of ghosts, but the land 
which the living share with their immortal ancestors. 

America has a glorious past, and an equally 
glorious future likewise awaits it, if it be only 
worthy of it. If its people shall have a "vision" 
of its potential greatness, if the old American spirit, 
that in times of stress and toil has never hitherto 
failed it at the end, shall be felt again, then it will 
be said of America in these dim, uncertain, and 
portentous days to come, that "she is not dead 
but risen, that she contains not only ruins but 
men, that she is not the home of ghosts, but the 
land which the living share with their immortal 


" It is a great error and a narrowness of the mind to think 
that nations have nothing to do one with another except there 
be either an union in sovereignty or a conjunction in pacts 
or leagues; there are other bands of society and implicit 

— Lord Bacon. 




[The author, at the invitation of the Pilgrims' 
Society of London, went to England in the summer 
of 1 91 6, and, on July 5th, addressed at a luncheon, 
given to him in London, a distinguished gather- 
ing of English public men of all classes. Viscount 
Bryce presided, and his speech, in proposing the 
author's health, conveyed to the American people 
a very significant message as to the attitude of 
England. This speech is printed in the Appendix. 

The author's reply was intended to be an explan- 
ation of the attitude of the American people, as 
distinguished from their "government of the day."] 

My Lords and Gentlemen : 

Let me in the first place say to Viscount Bryce 
that I shall carry back the message, with which he 
has done me the honour to entrust me, and it will 
receive a very ready response among the thought- 
ful people of my country, for I am persuaded that 
the best thought of America is that it would be a 
world-wide calamity if this war did not end with 
a conclusive victory for the principles so nobly 
defended by the Allies. I will also carry back 


250 The War and Humanity 

the possibly unnecessary message that this war is 
not going to be a draw. I was in this country in 
the first month of the war, and England then 
reminded me of a great St. Bernard dog, which in 
a spirit of noblesse oblige complacently wagged its 
tail when attacked by a powerful adversary. 
Today England seems to me like a bull-dog with 
the business end of his jaws firmly set in his 
assailant's throat. 

Let me further say, by way of introduction, 
that I also accept with great hesitation the 
magnificent compliment which the author of The 
American Commonwealth has been pleased to pay 
me. I know full well that in the generous apprecia- 
tion, which you have shown me, and which he has 
confirmed by his gracious reference to the little I 
have done, your friendly attitude exaggerates any 
service that I was privileged to render to your 
cause, and yet I shall not blunt the fine edge of the 
compliment by too vigorous a disclaimer. Lord 
Bryce's name in my country carries immense 
weight, possibly more so than any other publicist 
of any nation. When he speaks, whether in 
printed page or oral speech, we are accustomed to 
accept it as almost ex cathedra, and I therefore 
feel in view of what he has said about my contribu- 
tion to the controversial history of the war, very 

America and the Allies 251 

much as Dr. Johnson did when he visited King 
George III. and His Majesty was pleased to make 
some very compHmentary remarks about the 
Fleet Street philosopher's dictionary. When Dr. 
Johnson returned to the ever faithful Boswell, 
and told him with natural gratification what His 
Majesty had said, Boswell said: "What did you 
say when the King praised your dictionary?" Dr. 
Johnson replied: "Am I a man to bandy words 
with my Sovereign? If His Majesty says that 
my dictionary is the best in the English language, 
it must be so." Similarly I shall accept, not 
without great misgivings, Lord Bryce's gracious 
introduction and the generous references which 
he has made to The Evidence in the Case. 

I have crossed the ocean to bring to you a mes- 
sage of good will from the American Pilgrims, and 
because you are all busy men I wish to speak as 
briefly and rapidly as possible. I have not any 
prepared speech. This is not the time for didactic 
essays or ornate orations. In these dreadful days 
— to use the fine phrase of Tom Paine, ' ' the times 
that try men's souls " — the only thing that is valu- 
able in speech is sincerity, and it is in that spirit I 
wish to speak to you about the one topic of which 
you may wish to hear me : namely, the relations of 
the United States to this war and to the Allies. 

252 The War and Humanity 

There is one obvious limitation upon any dis- 
cussion of the subject at my hands. Whatever 
may be my views at home, I cannot discuss the 
poHtical policies of the party of the day in the 
United States. I have very strong convictions 
with respect to many of these policies, and I have 
not hesitated to express them with great freedom 
to audiences of my own countrymen, but if I shall 
ever be tempted to criticise in a public gathering 
in a foreign land either the President of the United 
States or the Government of the day, may my 
tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth ! 

Be the acts of a political Government what they 
may, the vital importance for the great future is 
what has been the spirit of the people, because 
in the long run that is more significant than the 
temporary policy of any party of the day. I have 
gratifying news to bring to this distinguished audi- 
ence as to the attitude of the American people. 

I was in England, as I have said, in the first 
month of the war. I remember with what in- 
terest, perhaps I might almost say solicitude, 
thoughtful Englishmen asked, when the war came 
as a bolt out of the blue, what will be the verdict of 
America ? It was not merely the sentimental side 
of that verdict which interested you, although 
I think some of you attached great importance to 

America and the Allies 253 

what your kinsmen across the Atlantic would say 
as to the ethical aspects of the great controversy. 
But there were obvious practical aspects with 
respect to your great Empire which made the 
question of some importance. It was important 
to know how America would view a great world 
crisis, as to which all its past political traditions 
gave it no preliminary prepossessions. 

The verdict that came to you across the Atlantic 
was spontaneous and overwhelming. We have in 
our history viewed with varied feelings and a lack of 
clearly preponderating views the previous wars of 
Europe in the nineteenth century, as we con- 
sidered them in their ethical and practical aspects. 
But in this case the overwhelming sentiment of the 
people, whether expressed by press or pulpit, 
by university or college, by bankers, merchants, 
or the masses toiling in the factories and the 
fields, was overwhelmingly in favour of the Allies. 
Excluding one or two elements of our population, 
which by reason of ties of blood to some extent 
ran counter to that general opinion, the pre- 
ponderating judgment of the American people 
was then and after eighteen months remains today, 
without diminution or shadow of turning, heart 
and soul with the Allies. 

While that verdict needs no further statement, 

254 The War and Humanity 

for it is a commonplace of our current political 
history, yet it has certain features which may not 
have received full recognition in this country. 

In the first place, it was a dispassionate verdict. 
I mean by that it was little affected by racial kin- 
ship. I believe that the American people, if they 
had ^thought that England was in the wrong in 
unsheathing its sword on behalf of Belgium, or in 
entering upon this great world quarrel, would have 
reached that conclusion but little influenced by 
racial kinship or the ties of blood. The verdict 
was as clearly dispassionate as one could expect 
in a verdict of human beings. 

In the second place it was not an academic 
verdict, reached after coffee at the breakfast table 
and forgotten before the shadows of evening fell. 
It was a verdict rendered after one of the greatest 
intellectual controversies that my country ever 
knew. For eighteen months its people day and 
night discussed this question; it was a common- 
place of conversation to say that whenever a group 
of intelligent men and women were gathered to- 
gether all subjects inevitably led to the war. 
IMoreover, Germany, appreciating the value of the 
American verdict, did not hesitate to appoint its 
advocatus diaholi in the person of Dr. Dernberg, 
and he and other professional propagandists, open 

America and the Allies 255 

or secret, financed by millions, and aided by thou- 
sands of German volunteers, attempted at every 
crossroad and in the centres of our cities, to reverse 
that verdict by a very torrent of controversial 
argument and by appeals to every idea or interest 
which they thought might impress the American. 
They appealed to our supposed cupidity, our fears, 
our prejudices, our interests, to every consideration 
which might affect the spontaneous verdict that 
was first pronounced. Yet they were finally 
obliged to admit that this judgment of the Ameri- 
can people was a settled, matured, deliberate, and 
irrevocable judgment, in no respects academic 
but such a judgment as a court of law would 
pronounce upon a consideration of all the facts. 

Again, this verdict was a militant verdict. I 
mean that the American people did not in a spirit 
of moral dilettantism merely express an opinion 
about this war, and then resume their normal 
activities. To an extent far greater than perhaps 
some of you appreciate, American men, women, 
and children have been for eighteen months work- 
ing in their several capacities, either to alleviate 
the sufferings of the war or to stem the German 
propaganda, by building up a strong militant 
public opinion for the Allies. So that if the war 
is a war primarily of ideas and ideals, we have 

2^6 The War and Humanity 

been participants to some extent, and our part has 
not been only that of a cold, callous, selfish out- 
sider, as some have thought. 

Finally, this verdict was in a sense a disinterested 
verdict, by which I mean that it was little affected 
by our own interests. We did not ask whether it 
was to our advantage that this or that group of 
nations should triumph. Indeed, our sense of 
detachment made it seem to us that neither the 
fate of Belgium nor Servia nor even the " balance 
of power" in Europe affected us directly, and it 
was therefore the ethical aspects of the issue which 
powerfully appealed to our emotions and made us 
enthusiastic adherents of the Allies' cause. 

You will, however, ask, that if the verdict were 
thus overwhelming, why did it not find a greater 
reflex in the action of the American Government 
as a political entity? 

I have said that I cannot discuss the political 
policies of the party of the day of my country. 
While I am not of that party, still it speaks for my 
nation, and while I reserve the right to criticise it 
in my own country, yet with every true American, 
politics stops at the margin of the ocean, and there- 
fore I cannot criticise the present Administration at 
Washington in a foreign land. But I can give you 
the reason why in the very nature of things the 

America and the Allies 257 

United States as a political entity could not be 
expected to take any other part than that of 
neutrality in this world crisis. 

England and the United States are the two most 
conservative democracies of the world. Each 
loves settled institutions. Each clings to the old 
and dreads the new. They believe that that 
which has in the past been tried has a violent 
presumption in its favour. 

Never was a nation more dominated by a tradi- 
tion than the United States by the tradition of its 
political isolation. It has its roots in the very 
beginnings of the American Commonwealth. In 
nine generations no political party and few pubHc 
men have ever questioned its continued efficacy. 
The pioneers, who came in 1620 across the Atlantic 
to Plymouth Rock, and founded the American 
Commonwealth, desired, like the intrepid Kent 
in King Lear, to "shape their old course in a 
country new," so that the spirit of detachment 
from Europe was implanted in the very souls of 
the pioneers who conquered the virgin forests of 
America. Its history in the colonial period was 
marked by a constant struggle between this 
spirit of detachment and the centralizing de- 
mands of the Mother Country. The Revolution 

was not merely caused by a penny stamp on tea. 

258 The War and Humanity 

America proclaimed its independence from this 
powerful instinct of separation and detachment. 
When Washington in the Napoleonic wars pro- 
claimed a policy of neutrality, he again expressed 
the instinctive feeling of his countr^^men that 
America should not be the shuttlecock of European 
politics. It had had long and too bitter experi- 
ence of this. As Macaulay said, the rape of 
Silesia had made the whites and Indians fight upon 
the shores of the Hudson and the Great Lakes. 

When Washington gave in his great Farewell Ad- 
dress his last testament to his countrymen, he de- 
fined the foreign policy of the United States better 
than it has been defined before or since. He said 
that Europe has a "set of primary interests which to 
us have none or a very remote relation, " and there- 
fore he advised that we should not by ''artificial ties 
implicate ourselves in the ordiiiary vicissitudes of 
her politics or the ordinary combinations and col- 
lisions of her friendships and enmities." 

My countrymen for many generations have 
accepted this counsel of our Founder as infallible, 
but they have not always appreciated the weight 
that Washington meant to give to the expression 
"artificial ties," and "ordinary vicissitudes and 
ordinary enmities." Washington recognized that 
there might, as is now the case, be an extra- 

America and the Allies 259 

ordinary vicissitude, in which a conflict, while 
originating primarily on the Continent of Europe, 
and primarily affecting its internal politics, might 
also affect the very bases of civilization, and 
impose upon the United States, as upon every 
civilized nation, the fullest responsibility to aid in 
maintaining the peace of the world by establishing 
international justice. By "artificial ties" Wash- 
ington meant, I think, hard and fast alliances of 
an entangling nature. He did not intend to ignore 
the natural ties, which spring from racial kinship 
or common ideals. 

The Monroe Doctrine illustrates the same 
policy of isolation, for it was founded upon a dis- 
claimer of any interest by the United States "in 
the internal affairs of Europe." 

I appeal to you, men of England — and many of 
you here present stand high in the public life of this 
country of settled traditions — if a tradition had ex- 
isted in England for three centuries, and had per- 
sisted among nine generations of men who, although 
they differed upon every other question, yet never 
differed with respect to such policy, could you 
reasonably expect that in a day or a week or a year 
that England, even in a great crisis of humanity, 
would throw aside a great settled tradition, the 
value and justice of which all its political parties 

26o The War and Humanity 

had accepted for three centuries? If such a 
policy had had in successive generations the 
unquestioning support of the elder and the younger 
Pitt, of Fox, Camden, Burke, Sheridan, of 
Peel, Palmerston, and Russell, of Gladstone, Dis- 
raeli, and Salisbury, of Balfour, Bonar Law, As- 
quith, and Sir Edward Grey, and then a quarrel 
arose in another country three thousand miles away, 
would England in a day or a month or a year 
have disregarded a tradition of such exceptional 
authority? Mutatis mutandis, and that was the 
position of the United States on August i, 1914. 

Were this all, the attitude of the United States 
as a political entity would be easily understood. 
But we have another tradition, which in this 
crisis has conflicted with our tradition of isolation. 

In every true American soul in the last two 
years there has been an irrepressible conflict 
of ideals. One was this ideal of detachment 
from European politics; the other was the ideal 
which we derived from the French Revolution, 
namely, the spirit of cosmopolitanism, which 
taught us that humanity was greater than any 
nation; that the interests of civilization were 
above those of any country; that above all there 
was a conscience of mankind, by which the actions 
of any nation must be judged. 

America and the Allies 261 

When, therefore, the rape of Belgium affronted 
our conscience, the question inevitably arose, 
"shall we abandon the great tradition of political 
isolation, under which we have grown great, or 
shall we fail by inaction to do a duty, where the 
spirit of international justice imperiously calls 
upon us and every nation to play its part?" 

The practical genius of our people tried to solve 
the problem as best it could in so short a time, and 
our government was permitted by public opinion 
to follow an official policy of neutrality, which I 
think it is no exaggeration to call one of benevolent 
neutrality to the Allies, while the people of the 
United States, as individuals and collectively, 
proceeded to ignore the policy of moral neu- 
trality by helping the Allies in every practicable 
way in their noble struggle for the best interests 
of civilization. 

I believe that this war, among its many other 
compensating benefits, will bring nearer to realiza- 
tion than ever before a sympathetic understanding 
between Great Britain and the United States. 
We appreciate the greatness of your Empire more 
than we, I think, appreciated it before. Our views 
in the past have been somewhat affected by our 
earlier history, and to a greater extent than you 
may imagine by the Napoleonic wars, because 

262 The War and Humanity 

every American boy, at least in the exuberance of 
youthful imagination, ranks the great Napoleon 
as his hero next to Washington. This has always 
afiected the attitude with which the American 
in the past has viewed the policies of your Empire. 
But now we have seen your Empire rise, in 
this great crisis of civilization, to defend the 
rights of a little nation, and reveal itself — to 
use Milton's splendid imagery — as "a noble 
and puissant nation, rousing itself like a strong 
man after sleep and shaking her invincible 

With deep admiration we have seen Great 
Britain follow the noblest policy in all its long 
and glorious history in staking its whole existence 
to save Belgium and aid France. The immortal 
valour of "Tommy Atkins" has also powerfully 
impressed us. We saw you, within three days, 
send that little army — little in this war — of over 
one hundred thousand men across the Channel, 
and offer them as a sacrifice to save your great and 
heroic neighbour on the south of the English 
Channel. We saw the thin red line at Ypres, 
suffocated by gases, rained upon by shrapnel, 
opposed by forces fourfold greater than their 
own, and yet standing like a stone wall against the 
red tide of Prussian invasion. We saw Tommy 

America and the Allies 263 

Atkins realizing that song that I heard in London 
twenty years ago : 

"To keep the flag a'flying, 

He's a'doing and a'dying 

Every inch of him a soldier, and a man. " 

That has been one great benefit of the war to us, 
that it has brought us into a deeper understand- 
ing and more sympathetic appreciation of your 
great Empire. If I were asked to say who was 
unwittingly the most beneficent statesman of 
modern times, I should undoubtedly say the 
Kaiser, for he has consolidated the British Empire, 
reinvigorated France, reorganized Russia, and has 
brought the United States and Great Britain 
nearer to a realization of that complete sym- 
pathetic understanding, upon which an Entente 
Cordiale may ultimately rest, than any other 
individual in the world. 

An Entente Cordiale must rest not merely upon a 
sympathetic understanding, but, as long as men 
are human, to some extent upon common interests. 

We are entering upon the most portentous half- 
century the world has ever seen. You will end 
this war, and you may end it speedily or within 
six months, or a year, or two years. But what lies 
beyond? Over ravaged homes, desolated fields. 

264 The War and Humanity 

and new-made graves, men will gaze at each other 
for possibly fifty years with irreconcilable hatred. 
This world will be a seething cauldron of interna- 
tional hatred, in my judgment, for half a century. 

In this portentous and critical time to come, the 
United States will need you, and England will 
need the United States. 

May this possible inter-dependence in vital 
interests lead us to a practical recognition that 
these two great divisions form a spiritual Empire 
of the English-speaking race, not made by con- 
stitutions, written documents, or formal alliances, 
but constituting, as Proudhon said in 1845, of 
Society in general a "living being, endowed with 
an intelligence and activity of its own, and as 
such, a [spiritual] organic unit." This great Em- 
pire of the English-speaking race must stand united 
in spirit, though not organically, for unless it 
stands together, there is little hope that in these 
dreadful years to come there will be the main- 
tenance of any permanent peace in the only way 
that peace can be maintained, namely, through 
the vindication of justice. 

I have taken far too long, but I may add that in 
order to develop this sympathetic understanding 
we must fully appreciate the difficulties of each 
nation and "bear and forbear." 

America and the Allies 265 

For example, we have learned to appreciate that 
which your Empire has done. But if you will 
pardon me, I do not think you adequately appre- 
ciate the great difficulties of the United States in 
this crisis, which would have been great if we had 
only to contend with our heterogeneous popula- 
tion. Has it ever yet occurred to you that we have 
in the United States of teutonic origin, counting 
birth or immediate parentage, a population equal 
to one third of all the men, women, and children 
of Great Britain. Then we have, as I have ex- 
plained, the great difficulty of a persistent tradi- 
tion, which in all generations has powerfully 
influenced the American mind and has been 
hitherto vindicated by its results. Can you not 
see that you must not misinterpret a nation, which 
cannot in a day abandon a cherished tradition, 
even if it be conceded that the interests of civiliza- 
tion required it ? 

' Then there is a disposition on this side to mis- 
interpret what we have tried to do as a people to 
help you. Some of the very things for which we 
have been most criticised are those that seem to me 
to redound to our credit. 

Take, for example, the sale of munitions. It is be- 
lieved by many here that we have in a sordid and 
mercenary way deliberately profited by this world 

266 The War and Humanity 

tragedy; that, while civilization was nailed to the 
Cross, America, as the Roman soldiers, contented 
itself with dividing the raiment of the crucified. 

Only an infinitesimal portion of the American 
people directly profited by this traffic. Indirectly 
it is true we have all profited by the immense 
prosperity thereby stimulated, but have you 
thought of the other side of the ledger? We have 
abandoned not only an unbroken friendship with 
the first military power of the world to give you 
munitions; but we have incurred an obligation that 
will weigh heavily upon us in future years far 
beyond any possible economic profits that our 
industries may temporarily gain by furnishing 
the Allies with munitions. To have placed an 
embargo on munitions to safeguard our internal 
peace and outward safety would not have violated 
neutrality in a legal sense. Sweden and Holland 
have forbidden many exports to protect their 
vital interests. We refused to do so as to war 
munitions, because the American people believed 
that in the earlier stages of the war you needed 
and deserved our aid and were determined that 
at any cost you should have it. 

We fully realized that in doing so we exposed 
ourselves to a great and continuing peril. Why 
did 140,000 men recently parade the streets of 

America and the Allies 267 

New York from early dawn to night? Why did 
100,000 men march in Chicago? Why 60,000 
in Boston? Was it Mexico? We no more fear 
a possible war with Mexico than a St. Bernard 
dog cares for a black-and-tan terrier. 

What was the meaning of this outpouring of all 
classes? We knew that we had incurred the 
undying enmity of Germany by doing you a ser- 
vice. We know if she wins this war or even makes 
it a draw, that as sure as political events can ever 
be prognosticated, Germany will one day settle 
her account with the United States, for there is no 
country in the world next to the British Empire 
that Germany today hates as she does the United 
States. To avoid this very danger, which will 
burden us for generations to come, shifty politi- 
cians attempted to put an embargo on the export 
of munitions, but public opinion said "No," and 
our President called Congress together and made 
them stand up and be counted, and thereafter 
no further threatened interruption stopped the 
flow of munitions to the Allies. As a result we 
are now doubling our Army and largely increasing 
our Navy, and future generations will bear the 

Do you realize that not only have we contributed 
by the sacrificing labours of men, women, and child- 

268 The War and Humanity 

ren at least £10,000,000 to relieve the frightful suf- 
fering in this war, but that over sixteen thousand 
American boys are fighting under the Maple Leaf 
for the Union Jack; and ten thousand more are 
serving under the tricolour of France? The 
youth from our colleges and universities are serv- 
ing with the ambulances, and doing the arduous 
and often dangerous work of taking the wounded 
from the trenches. If the bones of your sons are 
now buried in France there also are the bones of 
many brave American boys, who, without the 
protection of their flag, and with only the im- 
pulse of race patriotism, and an ardent spirit of 
chivalrous idealism, have gone and given their 
young lives as a willing sacrifice. 

Therefore, I say to you, men of England, if 
there are pinpricks, do not misjudge the American 
people, who have done what they did under the 
most trying and delicate circumstances, and 
whose loyalty to the spiritual Empire of the 
English-speaking race has been demonstrated 
in this crisis of history. 

I am reminded of a scene I once saw in 
Lauterbrunnen, that most beautiful valley in 
all the world. There are the three crowning 
peaks of the Bernese Oberland, the Eiger, the 
Monch, and the Jungfrau. They are apparently 

America and the Allies 269 

separate, and yet are eternally rested upon the 
common granite foundation of one undivided range 
of the eternal Alps. I like to think that the three 
great democracies of civilization, Great Britain, 
France, and the United States, while separate 
peaks in a purely political sense, yet also stand 
upon a common foundation of democracy and 

When I was in this Valley of Lauterbrunnen a 
Swiss guide sounded an echo of an Alpine horn. 
He played the four notes of the common chord, and 
as they reverberated back across the valley from 
the sombre bases of the higher Bernese Alps they 
were merged into the most gracious and beautiful 
harmonies that the mind of man could conceive. 
It sounded in that vast Cathedral of Nature as a 
divinely majestic organ.' May not these four notes, 
thus mingled, typify the common traditions of 
these three great democracies and create a lasting 
harmony, which will contribute to the symphony 
of universal progress? 

The Swiss guide also asked me to hear the echo 
of a little brass cannon, and as he fired it the 
effect was bewildering. It seemed to me as if 
the very mountains had toppled from their bases. 
The smoke of the cannon drifted across my eyes, 
and for a moment obliterated the majestic range 

270 The War and Humanity 

of the Bernese Alps. Finally the smoke cleared 
away, and the Eiger, the Monch, and the Jungfrau 
were again revealed in their undiminished beauty. 
May not that little cannon well typify Prussian 

When the smoke of this Titanic conflict passes 
from our eyes and the echoes of this portentous 
war shall die away into the terrible past, we shall 
— please God — see outlined against the infinite 
blue of His future these great democracies of 
civilization — Great Britain, France, and the 
United States. 

No organic connection between them is neces- 
sary to exert their collective and most potent 
influence upon the world, for it was well said 
by one of the profoundest thinkers of all time, 
Francis Bacon, that 

it is a great error and a narrowness of the mind 
that nations have nothing to do one with another 
except there be either an union in sovereignty 
or a conjunction in pacts or leagues; there are 
other bands of society and implicit confederations.^* 


France, whose armour conscience buckled on 
Whom zeal and charily brought to the field 
As God's own soldier." 

— Shakespeare. 



[Mr. James M. Beck, formerly Assistant Attorney- 
General of the United States and the author of 
The Evidence in the Case, has just returned from 
England and France, where he was entertained by 
many soldiers and statesmen in both countries and 
where he was able to witness for nearly a week the 
battle front from Verdun to Rheims. On his 
return he responded to the toast "France" at a 
banquet given by the France-America Society on 
the birthday of Lafayette on September 6, 191 6, in 
honour of M. Jusserand, the French Ambassador. 
As his speech is of general interest. The Times 
reprints it in order that a wider audience than those 
who attended the dinner may read Mr. Beck's 
testimony to the spirit of France.— New York 

It is a great privilege to join in this tribute of 
respect to the Ambassador of France. It has 
been his high privilege to represent his noble 
and heroic nation in the capital of the great- 
est of the neutral nations during one of the 
stormiest crises of human history. It is little 
II 273 

274 The War and Humanity 

to say that he has done so in a manner that has 
not only worthily represented France, but has 
never at any time abused the hospitality of the 
people to whom he is accredited. 

We would welcome the French Ambassador, 
even if his personal merits were less than they are, 
because he is the representative of that country, 
which of all foreign nations is the first in the 
affections of the American people. Our country 
has always been and is today under an immeasur- 
able debt to France. This obligation is a common- 
place of our history, and I refer to it only to make 
one suggestion. A possible disadvantage of this 
enthusiastic celebration of Lafayette's birthday, if 
it have any, lies in this, that the glamour of his 
youth and the romantic splendour of his career 
serve to obscure the great debt which America 
owes to other illustrious Frenchmen of that epic 
period, many of whom, as Rochambeau and 
De Grasse, are familiar to Americans by name, but 
some of whom, like the great Foreign Minister of 
France, Vergennes, or like Beaumarchais, who 
helped to send the first indispensable aid of arms 
and munitions to our armies, are little known. 
Above all, our admiration for Lafayette should 
not obscure the services of those great philosophic 
thinkers of France of the eighteenth century — 

The Vision of France 275 

Montesquieu, Diderot, Voltaire, and Rousseau, 
and many others, whose hatred of oppression 
found so great a reflex in our Declaration of 

In now returning to my native land after an 
absence of two months in England and France, I 
take this first occasion to express my most grateful 
appreciation of the overwhelming courtesy with 
which I was received in both countries. I do not 
regard this generous welcome as merely a recog- 
nition of the little I was privileged to do for their 
cause, but simply as a method that England and 
France chose to recognize that very large group of 
Americans, of whom I was but one, who disdained 
in the greatest moral crisis of civilization to be 
intellectually or morally neutral. 

You have asked me to respond to the toast of 
"France." What a noble and inspiring theme, 
and how utterly beyond any power, either of the 
spoken word or the printed page, to do full justice! 
To any one who has been privileged, as I was, to 
have the spiritual revelation of seeing that great 
country transfigured in its noble fight for the basic 
principles of civilization, any words of praise 
seem pitifully inadequate. 

When I am at a loss for any words to voice a 
sentiment, I always recur to the most universal 

276 The War and Humanity 

genius that the world has yet produced, our own 
English Shakespeare, of whom I like to think — 
although it is little more than conjecture — that 
while his father was English, as his name implies, 
and belonged to that sturdy yeomanry "whose 
limbs were made in England, " yet that his mother, 
with the beautiful name of Mary Arden, may have 
had some French-Norman blood in her veins, 
which contributed something to that clarity of 
expression and exquisite refinement of thought 
which so pre-eminently characterize the greatest 
of all poets. 

I looked into my Shakespeare to find what the 
great poet had said of a soldier of France, and in 
King John I found these lines, which I think make 
the best response to the toast which the committee 
has done me the great honour to assign me. He 

France, whose armour conscience buckled on, 
Whom zeal and charity brought to the field 
As God's own soldier ! 

What nobler tribute could an English poet pay 
to the immemorial enemy of England than to call 
a champion of France " God ' s own soldier " ? And 
I, who have seen these soldiers in the trenches 
on the far-flung battle line from Verdun to Rheims, 

The Vision of France 2']^ 

can testify that, from the humblest poilu up to 
the great Commander-in-Chief, whom it was my 
exalted privilege to meet at headquarters, they are 
truly, in their willingness to lay down their lives for 
France and its cause, "God's own soldiers." 
They solved a problem for me. I once wondered 
whether it was Napoleon who made the Grand 
Army, or the Grand Army, Napoleon. Now I 
know that the great conqueror was the product 
of the soldiers of France. 

The decision of France to align itself with Russia 
in defence of Serbia was to my mind one of the 
most heroic decisions that any nation ever reached. 
France knew she would have to bear the immedi- 
ate brunt of the attack. She knew she had only 
600,000 immediately effective soldiers to face 
over 800,000 of the best-equipped soldiers in the 
world. She knew that not merely did this dis- 
parity exist in numbers, but a graver disparity 
existed in time. For political reasons France could 
not mobilize before August i, 1914, while Germany 
had been quietly mobilizing at least seven days 
before, as is shown by the letter of the Kaiser 
to King George, in which he stated that on August 
1st he was stopping his troops "by telephone 
and telegraph from crossing into France." It 
is thus clear that while Germany was largely, 

278 The War and Humanity 

if not completely, mobilized and ready for the 
advance on August ist, France was then only be- 
ginning to call its reserves to the colors. This 
advantage in time of mobilization was a serious, 
an almost fatal handicap. Yet fully conscious 
of it, France, without counting the cost, without 
vacillating or hesitating for a moment, with no 
direct interest whatever in Serbia, knowing that 
the burden of the attack would fall upon her and 
that her very existence depended upon the imme- 
diate outcome; that the nation about to attack 
her was the first military power of the world 
and almost twice as great in population, and 
even greater in the equipment of arms, never 
hesitated, but immediately, when the first cloud 
arose upon the horizon, took its side with Russia 
in defending the right of little Servia to live as an 
independent nation. Thus France and Russia 
stood from the very beginning of the crisis of 
1 914 for the great principle of reason and justice 
in international controversies. 

If that attitude were heroic, what must be said of 
the decision of that great commander who, on the 
28th of August, took upon his broad shoulders 
the exclusive and supreme risk of retreating to the 
line of the Mame, knowing that if he failed and 
his army lost its morale in the retreat, his place 

The Vision of France 279 

in history and his fate might be more ignominious 
than that of Bazaine. With the Fabian tactics 
of Washington and with the same superb moral 
courage, he slowly retreated, and when he finally 
turned and faced his powerful opponent upon the 
Mame, his forces did not exceed, even with his 
reserves, 1,000,000 men, while opposed to him 
were at least 1,500,000 men, flushed with victory. 
In a battle, one of the most glorious in all the 
history of the world, possibly greater in its future 
consequences than that in which Charles Martel 
hurled back the Saracens at Tours — France's 
army, under General Joffre, scored one of the 
greatest triumphs in history and saved the basic 
principles of civilization from destruction. 

Alas, they paid the cost ! I visited a part of the 
battlefield of the Marne, and only too frequently I 
would see, in the beautiful golden harvest-fields 
of France, a little cemetery, and when I read the 
names over each grave I would often find this 
tender, beautiful sentiment, that shows the moral 
grandeur and beauty of France: "Z7» enfant de 
France, mort pour la Patrie." ("A child of 
France, died for his Country.") 

I realized then what Miss Aldrich meant in that 
charming little book, A Hill-top on the Marne, 
when she asked a young French wife, whose 

28o The War and Humanity 

husband had just left to join the colours: "Do 
you not grieve at losing your husband?" and the 
young wife bravely replies: "Why, I am but his 
wife; France is his mother." To Frenchmen the 
motherhood of France is not a mere verbal affecta- 
tion or a rhapsody of words. It is a very real 
fact. When a French soldier dies on the field of 
battle, it is to those who mourn for him, as though 
a mother had gathered him forever to her maternal 

It is that spirit of childhood — was it not once 
said "except ye be as little children" — and the 
fact that every soldier is a child of his country, 
that has given France that exaltation of patriot- 
ism, as fine as any that the history of the world 
has ever recorded, which, even more than the 
generalship of Joffre, Foch, Manoury, and Gallieni, 
won the great victory in September, 191 4. A 
million men were thus inspired to achieve the 
miracle of the Mame by decisively defeating the 
greatest and best-equipped army then existing 
in the world. 

In this connection let me say, in passing, that 
there is a disposition, not in England and in 
France, but in this country, to minimize the part 
that Sir John French's army played on the Mame. 
I am confident you would never hear a French 

The Vision of France 281 

General make any such suggestion of depreciation. 
England gave her whole army to save France, gave 
it so quickly that in a few days the soldiers that I 
saw marching by night through the streets of Win- 
chester, and who had seen the sun set upon the hills 
of Hampshire, saw it rise on the hills of Normandy. 
Relatively small in numbers, it was superb in 
equipment and great in spirit. That army, fight- 
ing a brave rear-guard action, helped Joffre to bring 
back his army to the line of the Mame without 
undue haste or any demoralization. No French- 
man would suggest that the victorious army of the 
Marne did not owe a proportionate share of the 
immortal glory of that battle to that little but brave 
contingent of Englishmen who, under General 
French, did all that the great Commander-in- 
Chief asked them to do. 

While challenging the justice of this criticism, 
let me in passing take issue with another statement 
intended for American consumption. Before I left 
England I read an interview, given to the press by 
a Judge Nippert of Cincinnati. I do not know 
who Judge Nippert is. Indeed, I never heard of 
him before, but that is probably due to my igno- 
rance. At any rate, Judge Nippert (after bathing 
in the sunshine of the Kaiser's presence) said that 
from the German trenches before Rheims he could 

282 The War and Humanity 

see every tile on the Cathedral — that ancient 
cradle of Christianity in France, and as sacred to 
France as Westminster Abbey is to England, — 
and added that the structure was still "intact and 
still used for the purposes" of a church. The 
clear intimation was that it had suffered no injury 
and that not even a tile had been destroyed. If 
Judge Nippert could see each tile of the Rheims 
Cathedral from the German trenches, he should at 
once consult either an oculist or a psychologist, 
for he is either the most far-sighted man in the 
records of ophthalmology or he possesses an 
imagination at which even a psychologist like 
Munsterberg would marvel. His vision is the 
more extraordinary as there is not and never 
was a tile on the Cathedral, The efficiency of 
German spy glasses may thus be measured by 
the fact — of which the literature of this war has 
already given voluminous proof — that it is ca- 
pable of seeing the things which are not only 
invisible, but do not even exist. 

It was about a month ago today that I stood in 
the Cathedral of Rheims, when shells were even 
then falling every five minutes into the city, in 
which there were still left about 20,000 civilians. 
I saw a hole in the roof made within two weeks of 
my visit there, caused by a shell which barely 

The Vision of France 283 

missed almost the last of the noble thirteenth- 
century stained-glass windows of that great Gothic 
treasure house, the greatest, perhaps, in all the 
world. I saw the splendid Gothic tracery of its 
roof, its beautiful carvings, its noble arches muti- 
lated beyond all possible repair. While it is true 
that the Cathedral as a skeleton still stands, and 
may be structurally restored, yet it can never 
completely regain its glorious beauty mellowed by 
so many ages. It is closed to all sacred uses as 
a church, denuded of its priceless contents, its 
choir stalls destroyed, and the only thing left in the 
interior is the flag of France, which still floats 
proudly and defiantly from one of its pillars. 

In this connection let me nail another statement 
of the overworked German press bureau. The 
German Admiralty has consistently claimed that 
it sunk the British dreadnought, the Warspite, in 
the battle of Jutland. About two months ago I 
inspected the Warspite and it was then receiving 
its finishing touches of fresh paint. It is afloat 
and very much alive. A new war fund should be 
started to distribute among official German press 
agents copies of the very unveracious biography 
of George Washington written by Parson Weems, 
for there they can read the story of the cherry tree, 
which while in itself untrue, yet illustrates the 

284 The War and Humanity 

value of truth and the folly of taking liberty with 
the facts. 

I went to Verdun, now the most heroic place in 
all the world. Has there ever been a battle in all 
history comparable to it in magnitude and moral 
grandeur? Within a few days, the contending 
armies will have fought continuously for two hun- 
dred days and nights, and, I may say to you, with- 
out disclosing the source of my information, that 
the casualties at Verdun a month ago exceeded 
800,000. Like a stone wall the French poihi has 
stood for nearly two hundred days at this eastern 
gateway of France in the most desperate battle of 
history, and he can still say to a brave and power- 
ful invader: "Thus far and no further; and here 
shall thy proud waves be stayed." 

It is such immortal valour as that displayed 
by friend and foe at Verdun that makes of war 
a stupendous moral paradox. The chief reason 
why the soldier will ever be a godlike hero in 
the eyes of men is that, rising above the sel- 
fish commonplaces of this working-day world, 
he is willing to give the most that he can, his 
life, for the people whom he loves, or the cause 
in which he believes. Higher than this ideal man 
cannot reach, for the spiritual leader of our race 
could do no more than lay down His Hf e for others. 

The Vision of France 285 

It is this that assimilates every soldier, who falls 
upon the field of battle, to the great Martyr, and 
which gives infinite and unfading beauty to Thor- 
waldsen's Lion of Lucerne. The brave Swiss 
guard, whose death it commemorates, were not 
inspired by patriotism, for they were aliens, but 
by simple fidelity to their cause and calling, " even 
unto death." The paw of the lion, resting on the 
Bourbon lilies in the dark bosom of the everlasting 
hills, is the artist's symbol of this undying truth. 

It is this consideration which makes a battlefield 
like that of Verdun holy ground, for to countless 
thousands of men its surrounding hills have proved 
a Calvary; its fields, where thousands of men 
have poured out the blood of their gallant hearts, 
may reverently be likened to a Garden of Geth- 
semane, in which countless heroes have felt the 
sweat " like unto drops of blood." 

The streets of Verdun, in which when I traversed 
them shells were still falling, have each been for 
many a brave hero a Via Dolorosa, which they 
trod to bloody death. In one single factory in 
Verdun, suddenly consumed by incendiary shells, 
nearly three hundred men were burned alive. 

It is something to remember that this com- 
mercial age has thus given the high water mark to 
human valour, for neither the past can surpass 

286 The War and Humanity 

Verdun's heroic defense, nor is it conceivable that 
in the future men can die in greater numbers or 
more bravely for their country'', and this can be 
said with equal justification of the French poilu 
and the German soldier. 

If a better feeling shall ever come to pass be- 
tween France and Germany, those great historic 
gladiators in the arena of the world's history, it 
will arise from the respect which the brave assail- 
ants and defenders of Verdun must feel for the 
fidelity, "even unto death," which has character- 
ized both armies. 

I wish I were at liberty to speak of the Com- 
manding General of the garrison of Verdun, but I 
would violate the regulations under which I was 
privileged to visit the front if I mentioned him by 
name. I should like to name him because he is 
one of the most delightful personalities I met. 
Such is the democratic comradeship of the French 
Army that the only thing that distinguished this 
great leader of a quarter of a million of men from 
his humblest soldier in the trenches was three 
stars upon his sleeve; otherwise he was dressed in 
the regulation blue uniform, with his iron casque 
on his head. When he went with me through the 
streets of Verdun, everywhere the soldiers' faces 
lighted up, and they would say, "Bon jour, mon 

The Vision of France 287 

General!" And he would give them the same 
fraternal greeting they gave him. 

The General gave us a luncheon in the subter- 
ranean recesses of the Vauban citadel, and had a lit- 
tle mimeographed menu-card prepared, which will 
always be one of my most prized possessions. I 
asked him if he would write a sentiment on the 
back of it. This was his gracious response : 

"In remembrance of your very kind visit to 
Verdun, I take this opportunity to assure you of 
my admiration and sympathy for your great and 
noble country." 

On this menu was a little design representing the 
Gallic cock crowing from the battlements of Verdun. 
When I saw it, I thought not only of the justifica- 
tion for that note of triumph (because I can assure 
you that the battle of Verdun is as good as won), 
but I thought of a subtler suggestion. 

I think one of the noblest dramatic allegories 
ever written is by a French writer, Rostand, 
and its title is "Chanticleer." You remember 
"Chanticleer" represents the noble idealist — 
and what has the Frenchman ever been if not 
an idealist, not merely a dilettante idealist, but 
one willing to sacrifice at any time his life for 
his ideals? 

I do not know whether Rostand intended to typ- 

288 The War and Humanity^ 

ify France in his "Chanticleer' ' — perhaps the French 
Ambassador can enHghten me — but it seemed to me, 
as I reread this noble allegory a few days ago, that 
this brave and gentle idealist symbolized France. 
Perhaps in his generous enthusiasm the Gallic cock, 
like Chanticleer, vainly believes that he causes the 
sun to rise, and yet France may claim the justifying 
achievement that France, as Chanticleer, has often 
proclaimed the reddening morn of democracy. 

Chanticleer believes that his morning cry drives 
black night and the birds of darkness away. He 
says, speaking of his cry : 

That cry which rises from the earth is such a 
cry of love for the light, such a deep and frenzied 
cry of love for the golden thing we call the Day, 
and that all thirst to feel again! When I feel 
that vast call to the Day arising within me, I 
expand my soul to make it more sonorous by mak- 
ing it more spacious, that the great cry may still 
be increased in greatness; before giving it I with- 
hold it in my soul a moment; then, when, to expel 
it, I contract my soul, I am so convinced of accom- 
plishing a great act, I have such faith that my 
song will make night crumble like the walls of 
Jericho, that, sounding its victory beforehand, my 
song springs forth so clear, so proud, so peremptory, 
that the horizon, seized with a rosy trembling, 
obeys ! 

Such is the spirit, such the history of France! 

The Vision of France 289 

It was my great privilege to talk with many 
prominent statesmen and soldiers in England, and 
in France I broke bread with three distinguished 
Generals of the French Army, Gouraud, Lasson, and 
Dubois, and as the crowning courtesy the French 
Government paid me, I was given a half hour with 
General Joffre. I am not permitted to repeat what 
he said ; it would not be fair to him, although noth- 
ing that he did say could be other than pleasing to 
this audience. He is one of the most modest mer. 
that God ever made. I stood in his room and 
awaited his coming with a thrill of expectation, and 
then this great, splendid figure of a man, without 
any pomp or circumstance, with neither sword nor 
decoration, imattended by officers, came in alone 
and welcomed me with a gracious smile, and it 
seemed to me, as I stood in the presence of that 
modest, silent, well-poised General, that I beheld 
a reincarnation of George Washington. Whether 
he will resemble Washington, the administrator 
and statesman, remains to be seen, but the re- 
semblance of the Hero of the Marne to the Lion 
of Trenton as a soldier is unmistakable. 

I am satisfied that Joffre and his companions- 
in-arms feel, with complete sincerity, that they 
have this war for civilization won. They have 
passed the crisis of a titanic conflict. They drove 


290 The War and Humanity 

back the invader at the Marne. They have shown 
at Verdun that they could repel the most terrific 
onslaught that history has recorded, and on the 
north and south of the Somme they have demon- 
strated by " the arduous greatness of things done " 
that they can successfully attack. There, from the 
first of July to the present hour, in more than two 
months of almost continuous fighting, while there 
have been a few temporary reactions, the pro- 
gress eastward of the Allies has been steadily 
maintained. And if you could have seen, as I 
have, the hilly terrain of the battle of the Somme, 
you would realize that it was no mean achieve- 
ment to drive back steadily from day to day a well- 
prepared and very brave enemy as many miles 
as they have. It shows that they have gained the 
upper hand in a stupendous struggle, and in that 
mastery the promise of ultimate success rests. 

While walking the streets of Verdun with Owen 
Johnson, the well-known American novelist, a 
suggestion occurred to us, which I pledged my- 
self to communicate to the first American audience 
I should address on my return home. France has 
generously recognized the aid and assistance which 
individual Americans have rendered her cause 
in this war; but there is one thing we could do, 
which Frenchmen would, I think, especially 

The Vision of France 291 

appreciate. Let us erect in Verdun a memorial 
that shall express the admiration of America for 
the splendid valour of France. 

How better could we reciprocate the many 
noble gifts that France has made to America, such 
as the Bartholdi statue in the great harbour of 
New York? The memorial should be a noble 
one as befits the subject, for no art could do full 
justice to the immortal valour of the French 
soldiers at Verdun. 






Mo\'ED by foreign denunciations of the execution 
of Miss Edith Cavell, out of which he said Ger- 
many's enemies were making capital, Dr. Alfred 
F. M. Zimmermann, Under Secretary for Foreign 
Affairs, on October 24, 191 5, made the authorized 
statement to the staff correspondent of the New 
York Times in Berlin. 

It was a pity that Miss Cavell had to be executed, 
but it was necessary. She was judged justly. We 
hope it will not be necessary to have any more 

I see from the English and American press that 
the shooting of an Englishwoman and the condem- 
nation of several other women in Brussels for trea- 
son has caused a sensation, and capital against us 
is being made out of the fact. It is undoubtedly 
a terrible thing that the woman has been executed; 
but consider what would happen to a State, par- 
ticularly in war, if it left crimes aimed at the safety 
of its armies to go unpunished because committed 

296 Appendices 

by women. No criminal code in the work — least 
of all the laws of war — makes such a distinction; 
and the feminine sex has but one preference accord- 
ing to legal usages, namely that women in a delicate 
condition may not be executed. Otherwise, man 
and woman are equal before the law, and only the 
degree of guilt makes a difference in the sentence 
for the crime and its consequences. 

I have before me the court's verdict in the Cavell 
case, and can assure you that it was gone into with 
the utmost thoroughness, and was investigated and 
cleared up to the smallest details. The result was 
so convincing, and the circumstances were so clear, 
that no war court in the world could have given any 
other verdict, for it was not concerned with a single 
emotional deed of one person, but a well-thought- 
out plot, with many far-reaching ramifications, 
which for nine months succeeded in doing valuable 
service to our enemies to the great detriment of our 
armies. Countless Belgian, French, and English 
soldiers are again fighting in the ranks of the Allies 
who owe their escape to the activities of the band 
now found guilty, whose head was the Cavell woman. 
Only the utmost sternness could do away with such 
activities under the very nose of our authorities, 
and a Government which in such case does not 
resort to the sternest measures sins against its most 
elementary duties toward the safety of its own 

All those convicted were thoroughly aware of 
the nature of their acts. The court particularly 
weighed this point with care, letting off several of 
the accused because they were in doubt as to whether 
they knew that their acts were punishable. Those 

Appendices 297 

condemned knew what they were doing, for nume- 
rous public proclamations had pointed out the fact 
that aiding enemies' armies was punishable with 

I know that the motives of the condemned were 
not base; that they acted from patriotism; but in 
war one must be prepared to seal one's patriotism 
with blood whether one faces the enemy in battle 
or otherwise, and in the interest of one's cause, does 
deeds which justly bring after them the death 
penalty. Among our Russian prisoners are several 
young girls who fought against us in soldiers' uni- 
forms. Had one of these girls fallen no one would 
have accused us of barbarity against women. Why 
now, when another woman has met death, to which 
she knowingly exposed herself, as did her comrades 
in battle? 

There are moments in the lives of nations where 
consideration for the existence of the individual is 
a crime against all. Such a moment was here. It 
was necessary once for all to put an end to the 
activity of our enemies, regardless of their motives ; 
therefore the death penalty was executed so as to 
frighten off all those who, counting on preferential 
treatment for their sex, take part in undertakings 
punishable by death. Were special consideration 
shown to such women we should open the door wide 
to such activities on the part of women, who are 
often more clever in such matters than the cleverest 
male spy. The man who is in a position of re- 
sponsibility must do that, but, unconcerned about 
the world's judgment, he must often follow the 
difficult path of duty. 

If, despite these considerations, it is now being 

298 Appendices 

discussed whether mercy shall be shown the rest 
of those convicted, and if the life which they have 
forfeited under recognized law is given back to them, 
you can deduce from that how earnestly we are 
striving to bring out feelings of humanity in accord 
with the commandments of stern duty. If the 
others are pardoned it will be at the expense of the 
security of our armies, for it is to be feared that new 
attempts will be made to harm us when it is believed 
that offenders will go unpunished or suffer only a 
mild penalty. Only pity for the guilty can lead to 
such pardons ; they will not be an admission that the 
suspended sentence was too stern. 

Dr. Zimmermann said in conclusion that there 
was not a word of truth in the report that the 
soldiers at first refused to shoot Miss Cavell, and 
then aimed so badly that an officer was forced to 
give the coup de grdce. He stated: 

The weakness of our enemies' arguments is 
proved by the fact that they do not attempt to com- 
bat the justice of the sentence but try to influence 
public opinion against us by false reports of the 
execution. The official report before me shows that 
it was carried out according to the prescribed forms, 
and that death resulted instantly from the first 
volley, as certified by the physician present. 



A Letter Unparalleled in Christian History, Addressed 
to the Catholic Prelates of Germany. 

[Though this much-discussed letter of Cardinal Mercier and 
the Episcopate of Belgium was known to have been written in 
November, 191 5, its full text remained unknown to the outside 
world until it was published at Havre on January 14, 1916. 
The Kaiser refused to allow it to reach the German clergy, and 
Cardinal Mercier went to Rome and sought to have it forwarded 
through official channels, but apparently without success.] 

November 24, 1915. 

To their Eminences the Cardinals and their Lordships 
the Bishops of Germany, Bavaria, and Austria- 

As Catholic Bishops, you, the Bishops of Germany 
on one hand and we, the Bishops of Belgium, France, 
and England on the other, have been giving for a year 
an unsettling example to the world. 

Scarcely had the German armies trodden the soil of 
our country than the rumoiu: was spread among you 
that our civil population was taking part in military 
operations; that the women of Vis6 and Li6ge were 
putting out your soldiers' eyes; that the populace in 
Antwerp and Brussels had sacked the property of 

expelled Germans. 


300 Appendices 

In the first days of August (1914), Dom Ildefonds 
Herwegen, Abbot of Maria Laach, sent to the Cardinal 
Archbishop of Malines a telegram in which he begged 
him, for the love of God, to protect German soldiers 
against the tortures which our countrymen were 
supposed to be inflicting on them. 

Now it was notorious that our Government had 
taken useful measures so that every citizen might be 
instructed in the laws of war; in each commune, the 
arms of the inhabitants had to be deposited in the 
communal house; by posters, the population was 
warned that only citizens regularly enrolled under the 
flag were authorized to bear arms; and the clergy, 
anxious to aid the State in its mission, had spread, 
by word of mouth, by parish bulletins, by posters on 
church doors, the instructions given by Government. 

We were habituated for a century to the rule of 
peace, and we had no idea that any one, in good faith, 
could attribute to us violent instincts. We were 
strong in our right and in the sincerity of our peaceful 
intentions; and we answered calumnies about "free 
shooters" and "eyes put out" with a shrug of the 
shoulders, since we were persuaded that the truth 
would be known, without delay, of itself. 

The clergy and episcopate of Belgium had personal 
relations with ninnerous priests, members of religious 
communities, and Bishops of Germany and Austria; 
the Eucharistic Congresses of 1909 at Cologne and 
1 91 2 at Vienna had given them an opportunity of 
nearer acquaintance and mutual appreciation. We 
felt assured that Catholics of the nations at war with 
our own would not judge us lightly; and, without 
troubling himself much about the contents of Dom 
Ildefonds's telegram, the Cardinal of Malines limited 

Appendices 301 

his reply to an invitation to preach gentleness toward 
ourselves — for, he added, "we are told that German 
troops are shooting innocent Belgian priests." 

From the very first days of August, crimes had been 
committed at Battice, Vise, Berneau, Herv6, and 
elsewhere, but we wished to hope that they would 
remain isolated deeds; and, knowing the very high 
relations which Dom Ildefonds had, we put great 
confidence on the following declaration which he sent 
us on the i ith of August : 

I am informed, at first hand, that formal orders have been 
given to German soldiers by the military authorities to spare 
the innocent. As to the very deplorable fact that even priests 
have lost their Hves, I allow myself to bring to your Eminence's 
attention that, within these last days, the dress of priests and 
monks has become the object of suspicion and scandal, since 
French spies have used the ecclesiastical costume, and even that 
of religious communities, to disguise their hostile intentions. 

Meanwhile, the acts of hostility toward innocent 
population went on. 

On August 18, 1914, the Bishop of Lidge wrote to 
Mayor Bayer, Governor of the City of Lidge : 

One after the other, several villages have been destroyed; 
notable persons, among whom were parish priests, have been 
shot; others have been arrested, and all have protested their 
innocence. I know the priests of my diocese; I cannot beUeve 
that a single one of them would have made himself guilty of 
acts of hostiUty towards the German soldiers. I have visited 
several ambulances, and I have seen German soldiers cared for 
in them with the same zeal as Belgians. This they themselves 

[The entire text of the letter of the Bishop of Lidge is ap- 
pended to the Bishop's appeal. His protest was renewed on 
August 2ist to General Kolewe, who had become Military 
Governor of Li6ge; and again, on August 29th, to his Excellency 

302 Appendices 

Baron von der Goltz, Governor-General of the occupied pro- 
vinces of Belgium, who was lodging at that time in the Bishop's 
palace at Li^ge.] 

The letter remained unanswered. 

In the beginning of September, the Emperor of 
Germany covered with his authority the caltminious 
accusations of which our innocent populations were 
the object. He sent to Mr. Wilson, President of the 
United States, this telegram, which, so far as we know, 
has not hitherto been retracted: 

The Belgian Government has publicly encouraged the civil 
population to take part in this war, which it has been preparing 
carefully for a long time. The cruelties committed in such a 
guerrilla war, by women and even by priests, on doctors and 
nurses have been such that my Generals have finally been 
obliged to have recourse to most rigorous methods to chastise 
the guilty and to prevent the sanguinary population continuing 
its abominable, criminal, and odious deeds. Several villages 
and even the city of Louvain have had to be demolished 
(excepting the very beautiful Hotel de Ville) in the interest of 
our defence, and for the protection of our troops. My heart 
bleeds when I see that such measures have been made in- 
evitable and when I think of the numberless innocent people 
who have lost home and goods as a consequence of those 
criminal deeds. 

This telegram was posted up in Belgium, by order of 
the German Government, on September nth. On 
the very next day, September 12th, the Bishop of 
Namur demanded to be received by the Military 
Governor of Namur, and protested against the 
reputation His Majesty sought to give to the Belgian 
clergy; he affirmed the innocence of all the members 
of the clergy who had been shot or maltreated, and 

Appendices 303 

declared that he was ready himself to publish any 
culpable deeds which might be proved. 

The offer of the Bishop of Namur was not accepted 
and no answer was made to his protestation. 

Thus calumny was able to pursue its course freely. 
The organ of the Catholic Ventre rivalled the Lutheran 
press; and the day when thousands of our fellow- 
countrymen, ecclesiastics, and laymen, of Vis6, 
Aerschot, Wessemael, Herent, Lou vain, and twenty 
other places, all as innocent of acts of war or cruelty 
as you and we, were taken off as prisoners and passed 
through the railway stations of Aix la Chapelle and 
Cologne, and, for mortal hours, were given over as a 
show to the unwholesome curiosity of the Rhenish 
metropolis, they had the grief to know that their 
Catholic brethren had vomited over them just as 
many insults as did the Lutherans of Celle, Soltau, 
or Magdeburg. 

Not one voice was lifted up in Germany to take the 
defence of the victims. 

The legend which was transforming innocent into 
guilty persons and crime into an act of justice thus 
became accredited, and on May lo, 1915, the White 
Book — an official organ of the German Empire — 
dared to adopt it on its own account, and to circulate 
in neutral countries these odious and cowardly false- 
hoods : 

There is no doubt that German wounded have been stripped 
and finished, yes, and frightfully mutilated by the Belgian 
population, and that even women and young girls have taken 
part in such abominations. Wounded soldiers have had their 
eyes put out, their ears, nose, fingers, and sexual organs cut 
off, or their bowels opened; in other cases, German soldiers 
have been poisoned, hanged to trees, have had boiling liquid 

304 Appendices 

poured over them, and been sometimes burned, so that they 
have endured death in atrocious pain. Such bestial proceedings 
of the population not only violate obligations expressly for- 
mulated by the Geneva Convention concerning the attention 
and care due to the wounded of an enemy army, but they are 
contrary to the fundamental principles of the laws of war and 

Put yourselves for a moment in our place, dear 
brethren in the faith and priesthood. 

We know that these shameless accusations of the 
Imperial Government are, from one end to the other, 
calumnies — we know it and we swear it. 

Now, your Government invokes for its justification 
witnesses that have been subjected to no check and to 
no cross-examination. 

Is it not your duty, not only in charity, but in 
strict justice, to enlighten yourselves, to enlighten the 
faithful of your flocks, and to furnish us with the 
occasion to establish judicially our innocence? 

You owe us this satisfaction in the name of Catholic 
charity which dominates national conflicts. You owe 
it to us — today — in strict justice, because a com- 
mittee, covered by at least your tacit approbation, 
and composed of all that is most distinguished in 
politics and science and religion in Germany, has 
undertaken the patronage of the official accusations 
and confided to the pen of a Catholic priest, Professor 
A. J. Rosenberg of Paderborn, the task of condensing 
them in a book entitled The Lying Accusations of 
French Catholics against Germany, and has thus put 
on the back of Catholic Germany the responsibility 
of the active and public propagation of the calumny 
against the Belgian people. 

When the French book, to which German Catholics 

Appendices 305 

oppose their own, saw the light, their Eminences 
Cardinal von Hartmann, Archbishop of Cologne, and 
Cardinal von Bettinger, Archbishop of Munich, felt it 
necessary to address to their Emperor a telegram in 
these words: 

Revolted by the defamation of the German Fatherland and 
its glorious army contained in the book, The German War and 
Catholicism, we have the heartfelt need of expressing our 
sorrowful indignation to your Majesty in the name of the whole 
German episcopate. We shall not fail to lift up our complaint 
even to the Supreme Head of the Church. 

Very well. Most Reverend Eminences, Venerated 
Colleagues of the German episcopate, in our turn, we 
Archbishops and Bishops of Belgium — revolted by the 
calumnies against our Belgian country and its glorious 
army, which are contained in the White Book of the 
Empire and reproduced in the German Catholics' 
answer to the work published by French Catholics — 
we feel the need of expressing to our King, to our 
Government, to our army, to our country, our sorrow- 
ful indignation. 

And that our protestation may not run counter to 
yours, without useful effect, we ask you to be willing 
to aid us to institute a tribunal for searching inquiry of 
evidence and counter evidence. In the name of your 
official tribunal, you will appoint as many members as 
you desire, and as it pleases you to choose; we will 
appoint as many more, three for examination, one 
each side. And we will ask of a neutral State — Holland, 
Spain, Switzerland, or the United States — to appoint 
for us a " superarbiter " who will preside over the 
operations of the tribunal. 

You have taken your complaints to the Sovereign 
Head of the Church. 

3o6 Appendices 

It is not just that he should hear only your voice. 

You will have the loyalty to aid us to make our 
voice heard also. 

We have — you and we — an identical duty, to put 
before His Holiness tried documents on which he may 
be able to base his judgment. 

You are not ignorant of the efforts we have made, 
one after another, to obtain from the power which 
occupies Belgium the constitution of a tribunal of 

The Cardinal of Malines, on two occasions — Janu- 
ary 24, I9i5,and February 10, 1915, — and the Bishop 
of Namur, by a letter addressed to the Military 
Governor of his province, April 12, 1915, both so- 
licited the formation of a tribunal to be composed 
of German and Belgian arbiters in equal number 
and to be presided over by a delegate from a neu- 
tral State. 

Our efforts met with an obstinate refusal. 

Yet the German authority was desirous to institute 
investigations, but it wished them to be one-sided — 
that is, without any judicial value. 

After it had refused the investigation demanded by 
the Cardinal of Malines, the German authorities went 
into different localities where priests had been shot 
and peaceful citizens massacred or made prisoners, 
and there — on the depositions of a few witnesses 
taken haphazard or selected discreetly, sometimes in 
presence of a local authority who was ignorant of the 
German language and thus found himself forced to 
accept and sign blindly the minutes made — it be- 
lieved itself authorized to come to conclusions which 
were afterwards to be presented to the public as 
results of cross-examinations. 

Appendices 307 

The German investigation was carried out in 
November, 1914, at Louvain, in such conditions. It 
is, therefore, devoid of any authority. 

So it is natural that we should turn to you. 

The court of arbitration, which the power occupying 
our country has refused us, you will grant us — and 
you will obtain from your Government the public 
declaration that witnesses can be cited by you and by 
us to tell all they know, without having to dread 
reprisals. Before you, under cover of your moral 
authority, they will feel themselves more seciire and 
be encouraged to bear witness to what they have seen 
and heard; the world will have faith in the episcopate 
of our two nations united; our common control will 
give authenticity to the witness borne and will guar- 
antee the fidelity of the report. The investigation 
thus carried out will be believed. 

We demand this investigation, Eminences and 
venerated colleagues, before all else, to avenge the 
honour of the Belgian people. Calumnies put forth 
by your people and its highest representatives have 
violated it. And you know as well as we the adage 
of the human, Christian, Catholic moral theology: 
"Without restitution, no pardon." (" Non remittitur 
peccatum, nisi restituatur abletum. ") 

Your people, by the organ of political powers and 
of its highest moral authorities, has accused our 
fellow-citizens of giving themselves up to atrocities and 
horrors on wounded German soldiers, and particulars 
are given, as above cited, by the White Book and 
the German Catholics' manifesto. To all such accusa- 
tions we oppose a formal denial — and we demand to 
give the proofs of the truth of our denial. 

On the other hand, to justify the atrocities com- 

3o8 Appendices 

mitted in Belgium by the German Army, the political 
power, by the very title it gave to its White Book — 
Die Volkerrechtwidrige Fuhring des Belgischen Volks- 
kriegs {The Violation of the Law of Nations by the War 
Proceedings of the Belgian People) — and the hundred 
Catholics who signed the book — The German War and 
Catholicism: German Answer to French Attacks — 
assert that the German Army found itself in Belgium 
in the case of legitimate defence against a treacherous 
organization of free-shooters. 

We affirm that there was nowhere in Belgium any 
organization of free-shooters, and we demand in the 
name of our national honour, which has been calum- 
niated, the right to give proofs of the truth of our 

You will call whom you choose before the tribunal of 
cross-investigation. We shall invite to appear there 
all the priests of parishes where civilians, priests, 
members of religious communities, or laymen were 
massacred or threatened with death to the cry, "Man 
hat geschossen" (Someone has been shooting"); we 
shall ask all these priests to sign, if you wish it, 
their testimony under oath, and then, under penalty 
of pretending that the whole Belgian clergy is per- 
jured, you will have to accept, as the whole civilized 
world will not be able to refuse, the conclusions of this 
solemn and decisive investigation. 

But we add. Eminences and venerated colleagues, 
that you have the same interest as ourselves in this 
constitution of a tribunal of honour. 

For, relying on your direct experience, we know — 
and we affirm — that the German Army gave itself 
up in Belgium, in a hundred different places, to pillage 
and incendiarism, to imprisoning and massacres and 

Appendices 309 

sacrileges contrary to all justice and to all sentiment 
of humanity. 

This we affirm, in particular, for the communes 
whose names figure in our pastoral letters, and in the 
two notes addressed by the Bishops of Namur and 
Lidge (respectively on the 31st of October and the 
1st of November, 1915) to His Holiness Benedict XV., 
to his Excellency the Nuncio of Brussels, and to the 
Ministers or representatives of neutral countries at 

Fifty innocent priests, thousands of innocent faith- 
ful, were put to death; hundreds of others, whose lives 
have been preserved by circumstances independent 
of their persecutor's will, were put in danger of death ; 
thousands of innocent people were made prisoners, 
many of them underwent months of detention, and 
when they were released the most minute questions 
to which they had been subjected had brought out 
against them no evidence of guilt. 

The crimes cry to heaven for vengeance. 

If, when we formulate these denunciations, we 
calumniate the German Arm3'-, or if the military 
authority had just reasons to order or permit these 
acts, which we call criminal, it belongs to the interest 
and to the national honour of Germany to confound 
us. Just so long as German justice refuses to listen 
we keep the right and duty to denounce what, in 
conscience, we consider a grave violation of justice 
and of our honour. 

The Chancellor of the German Empire, in the 
Reichstag session of the 4th of August, declared that 
the invasion of Luxemburg and Belgium was "in 
contradiction with the prescriptions of the right of 
nations"; he recognized that, "by passing over the 

310 Appendices 

justified protests of the Governments of Luxem- 
burg and Belgium, he was committing an injustice 
which he promised to repair"; and the Sovereign 
Pontiff, intentionally alluding to Belgium — as His 
Eminence Cardinal Gasparri, Secretary of State, 
wrote to M. Van den Heuvel, Belgian Minister — 
pronounced in his Consistorial Allocution of January 
22, 1 91 5, this irreformable judgment: "It belongs to 
the Roman Pontiff, whom God has established as a 
supreme interpreter and avenger of the eternal law, to 
proclaim, before all else, that none may, for any reason 
whatsoever, violate justice." 

Yet, since that time, politicians and casuists seek 
to dodge or enfeeble those decisive words. In their 
reply to French Catholics, German Catholics engage 
themselves in like mean subtleties and would fain 
corroborate them by fact. They have at their dis- 
position two witnesses: one — who is anonymous — 
saw, so he says, on the 26th of July, French officers in 
conversation with Belgian officers in the Boulevard 
Anspach at Brussels; the other, a certain Gustav 
Lochard, of Rimogue, deposes that "two regiments of 
French dragoons, the Twenty-eighth and the Thir- 
tieth, and one battery crossed the Belgian frontier on 
the 31st of July, 19 14, and remained exclusively on 
Belgian territory during all the following week." 

Now, the Belgian Government affirms that, "before 
the declaration of war, no French troop, no matter 
how small, had entered Belgium." And it adds: 
"There is no honest witness who can rise up against 
this affirmation." 

The Government of our King, therefore, accuses 
German Catholics of asserting an error. 

Here is a question of prime importance, both politi- 

Appendices 311 

cal and moral, on which we ought to enlighten the 
public conscience. 

If, however, you should refuse to examine this 
general question, we ask you at least to check off the 
witness on which German Catholics have relied to 
decide the question against us. The deposition of this 
Gustav Lochard touches facts easy to control. Ger- 
man Catholics will wish to free themselves from the 
reproach of error and will make it a duty of conscience 
to retract the error if they have let themselves be 
deceived to our injury. 

We are not ignorant that you have a repugnance to 
believe that regiments, of whom, you say, you know 
the discipline, the honour, the religious faith, could 
have given themselves up to the inhuman acts with 
which we reproach them. You wish to persuade your- 
selves that it is not so, because it cannot be so. 

And, forced by evidence, we answer you — it can 
be so because it is so. 

In face of the fact, no presumption holds. 

For you as for us there is but one issue — the verifi- 
cation of the fact by a commission whose impartiality 
is and appears to all to be beyond dispute. 

We have no difficulty in understanding your state 
of mind. 

We, too, respect, believe us, the spirit of discipline 
and labour and faith of which we have so often had 
proofs and gathered testimony among yoxir fellow- 
countrymen. Very numerous are those Belgians 
now who bitterly confess their deception. But they 
have lived through the sinister events of August and 
September. The truth has triumphed over all in- 
terior resistance. The fact can no longer be denied — 
Belgiimi has been made a martyr. 

312 Appendices 

When foreigners of neutral countries — American s 
Hollanders, Swiss, Spanish — ask us the way in which 
the German war has been carried on, and wish us to 
narrate certain scenes whose horror, in spite of our- 
selves, we have verified, we soften the impression, 
feeling how far the naked truth passes the limits of 

Nevertheless, when you have been placed in the 
presence of the entire reality, when you have been 
able to analyze the causes, some distant, others 
immediate, of what one of your Generals — before the 
ruins of the little village of Schallenlez-Diest — called 
the "tragic error"; when you hear the influences 
which your soldiers underwent at the moment of their 
entry into Belgium, and in the intoxication of their 
first successes, the unlikelihood of the truth will 
appear to you, as to us, less disconcerting. 

Most of all, Eminences and venerated colleagues, 
let not yourselves be held back by the vain pretext 
than an investigation would be now premature. 

We might say so, indeed, because at the present 
hour the investigation would have to be made in 
circumstances unfavourable to ourselves. Our popula- 
tions, in fact, have been so profoundly terrorized, and 
the prospects of reprisals is still so sombre for them, 
that the witnesses we may call before a tribunal which 
would be German in part would scarcely dare to tell 
the truth to the end. 

But decisive reasons are opposed to all dilatory 

The first, that which will go straight to your hearts, 
is that we are the weak and you are the powerful. 
You would not wish to abuse your strength against 

Appendices 313 

Public opinion usually goes to him who first pos- 
sesses himself of it. 

Now, whereas you have all liberty to flood neutral 
countries with your publications, we are imprisoned 
and reduced to silence. Hardly are we permitted to 
lift up our voices inside our churches; the preaching 
in them is checked off, that is, parodied by paid spies; 
protestations of conscience are qualified revolts 
against public authorities; what we write is stopped 
at the frontier as contraband. So you alone enjoy 
freedom of speech, and of the pen, and if you will, 
in a spirit of charity and equity, procure a particle 
of it for Belgians who are accused and give them a 
chance to defend themselves, it is for you to come to 
their protection as soon as possible. The old law adage 
— "Audiatur et altera pars" (Let the other side be 
heard")— is posted up, they tell us, at the doors of 
many German courts of law. In any case, for you as 
for us, it is law for the official judgments of Bishops, 
and doubtless, too, with you as with us, it circulates in 
the people's speech under this figure — "Who hears 
but one bell hears but one sound, " 

You will say, perhaps: "That is the past, forget it. 
Instead of casting oil on the fire, try rather to pardon 
and join your efforts with those of the power occupying 
your territory — for it only asks to heal the wounds of 
the unhappy Belgian people." 

Oh, Eminences and dear colleagues, add not irony 
to injustice ! 

Have we not suffered enough? Have we not been 
— are we not still — tortured cruelly enough? 

It is the past ; resign yourselves — forget. 

The past! But all the wounds are still bleeding! 
There is not an honest heart that is not swollen with 

314 Appendices 

indignation. While we hear our own Government 
saying to the face of the world, "That one is twice 
guilty who, after violating another's rights, tries still, 
audaciously and cynically, to justify himself by im- 
puting to his victim faults which he had never com- 
mitted, " our own people can only by doing violence 
to themselves stifle words of malediction. But yester- 
day a countryman in the suburb of Malines learned 
that his son had fallen on the field of battle. A priest 
consoled him. And the brave man answered: "Oh, 
for my son, I give him to our country! But they took 
my eldest son, the cowards, and shot him down in a 

How do you wish us to obtain from such unfor- 
tunates, who have been made to know every torture, 
a sincere word of resignation and forgiveness, so long 
as those who have made them suffer refuse them one 
word of acknowledgment or repentance or promise of 
reparation ? 

Germany will not give us back the blood she has 
made to flow and the innocent lives her armies have 
mowed down; but it is in her power to make restitu- 
tion to the Belgian people of their honour, which she 
has violated or let be violated. 

This restitution we demand from you; from you 
who are the first and chief representatives of Christian 
morals in the Church of Germany. 

There is something more profoundly sad than 
political divisions and material disaster — it is the 
hatred which injustice, real or presumed, heaps up 
in so many hearts made to love each other. As 
pastors of our peoples, does it not belong to us, is there 
not incumbent on us, the mission to make easy the 
dying away of evil feeling and to re-establish on the 

Appendices 3^5 

foundation so shaken now of justice a union in charity 
of all children of the great Catholic family? 

(The letter closes with specific citations of inter- 
national laws which the German Empire is stated to 
have violated in Belgium, and is signed:) 

D. J. Cardinal Mercier, 
Archbishop of Malines. 

Bishop of Ghent. 

Bishop of Bruges. 

Thomas Louis, 
Bishop of Namur. 

Martin Hubert, 
Bishop of Liege. 

Amedee Crooy, 
Appointed Bishop of Tournai. 


[Speech of Viscount Bryce, made at the luncheon given in 
London by the Pilgrims' Society of that city in honour of the 
author on July 5, 1916.] 

Viscount Bryce said: My Lords and Gentlemen, 
I now rise to ask you to drink the health of Mr. Beck. 
We have not had a luncheon of the Pilgrims since 
July, 1 914, immediately before the outbreak of war, 
and we then little knew how much we were going to 
owe to Mr. Beck's countrymen, for the sympathy, 
the great majority of them have shown in all our 
efforts and struggles of the past, and for the moral 
support they have given to the cause which they 
believe to be a righteous cause. Mr. Beck comes to 
us not unknown. I hardly feel like introducing him 
to you because I am sure there cannot be one of you 
who does not know what admirable work he has done 
for the Allied cause in his own country. Unsolicited 
by any one on the part of the Allies, moved only by 
his strong sense of enthusiasm for what he believed 
to be right and just, Mr. Beck, shortly after the be- 
ginning of the war, set himself to study its causes, and 
the responsibility for its outbreak, and produced a 
book on that subject which for the clearness of its 


Appendices 317 

statements and the cogency of its legal arguments 
has not been surpassed, if indeed it has been equalled, 
by any writer since the war began. Mr. Beck, as a 
trained lawyer, and a distinguished member of the 
great profession which he adorns, saw the necessity 
of examining the question with the lawyer's eye, and 
by his clear dispassionate analysis of the facts and 
circumstances that preceded the war, he has produced 
his most convincing book, entitled The Evidence in 
the Case, showing upon which side right and justice 
lie. I dare say you know Mr. Beck has rendered us 
another service. He has gone to Canada, and by 
the speeches which he has made there he has roused, 
if it were possible to rouse, further enthusiasm in 
Canada for that common cause which Canada has 
maintained with such splendid valour. There is 
nothing we can look back upon in these dark and 
trying days with more satisfaction, and look forward 
to with more hopeful enthusiasm, than the fact that 
the public opinion of the United States has been in 
unison with the public opinion of Canada, and that 
both of them have given us that moral support which 
we have prized so highly. Mr. Beck is here on a short 
visit, in the course of which many of us will, I trust, 
have opportunities of seeing him in private, and in 
the course of which he will also visit parts of the 
country sufficient to enable him to see that the feeling 
that moves us here in London is no less hearty and 
ardent everywhere over our country. He will wish 
when he returns to tell his countrymen what he has 
seen here, and to tell them in particular why we are 
resolved all over Britain to prosecute this war with 
our utmost energy. Mr. Beck will tell you what the 
sentiment of the United States is, but I think I shall 

3i8 Appendices 

not anticipate him too far if I say that ever since the 
merits of the case became known, and not least owing 
to the efforts that he and others have made to enlighten 
his and their countrymen, the opinion of all that is 
best and wisest in the United States has been over- 
whelmingly with us. Nevertheless, there is in the 
United States a certain small section of those who 
call themselves Lovers of Peace, who are from time 
to time heard suggesting that the terrors and horrors 
of war are so great that the Powers are bound at all 
hazards and on any terms to conclude a peace. I 
received a few days ago, as probably some others 
among you have done, an address from the United 
States, signed by a certain number — by no means a 
large number — of United States citizens, urging upon 
the people of this country that this war is and will 
be indecisive, that it will end in what is called "a 
draw," and that the best thing we can do is to make 
peace upon any sort of terms, which I suppose means 
terms which Germany would be willing to accept 
forthwith. I notice that a large proportion of the 
small number of signatories of that address came from 
Germany or had German names, and that fact has 
some significance. Now, with your permission, I 
should like to tell Mr. Beck, and I think I may do so 
on your behalf, why it is that we do not propose to 
follow this advice, and I feel sure that when he has 
had opportunities of learning the sentiment of this 
country, he will carry back to his own countrymen a 
full and just picture of that sentiment. Now, Mr. 
Beck, we too whom you see here are also lovers of 
peace. Speaking for myself, I may say that I have 
worked for peace inside and outside Parliament for 
more than thirty years, and I see around me many 

Appendices 319 

others who have done the same. We are as much 
impressed by the horrors of war as any pacifist in the 
United States can be. We yield to no one in our 
desire that these horrors and this bloodshed should 
cease. Why, gentlemen, there is not one of us who 
has not lost relatives and friends, who made to him 
much of the joy and pleasure of life. Why is it then 
that we think that the time for making peace has 
not yet arrived? In the first place, gentlemen, this 
war is not going to be a draw. The Allies are going 
to win. We believe that they will win not merely 
because our own troops are daily driving back the 
Germans in France, not merely because of the brilliant 
advance which the armies of Russia are making, not 
merely because of the resistance of the soldiers of 
France standing like a rock and delivering mag- 
nificent counter-charges against the enemy with 
all the traditional valour that belongs to that 
great nation. We believe it, and have all along 
believed it, because we know the balance of 
strength is with the Allies, that our resources are 
greater, and that with those greater resources we 
shall triumph on land, and because we know also 
that we hold the unshaken and unshakable con- 
trol of the seas. Then further, we believe that 
the German Government are not prepared to make 
peace upon any terms we can possibly accept. The 
German Government themselves may know that they 
are going to be beaten, but their people do not yet 
know it. They have fed their people with falsehoods, 
keeping them in total ignorance of the true state of 
affairs. They have endeavoured to beguile and cheer 
their people by prospects of territorial conquests and 
annexations, and they are now afraid to acknowledge 

320 Appendices 

the truth, and to disappoint the German people by 
consenting to peace upon such terms as we and our 
Allies can accept. Another thing also I will ask Mr. 
Beck to tell his countrymen. It is this : We in Britain 
feel that any peace made upon the present position 
of affairs would not be a real peace. It would be a 
mere truce. It would be a truce full of disquiet, of 
constant anxieties and recurring alarms. Prepara- 
tions for war would continue; and the nations would 
again be pressed down by the frightful weight of 
armaments. And, lastly, there is one more reason 
why peace cannot be made at this moment. It is 
not for ourselves merely that we are fighting : it is for 
great principles, to which we owe a duty. We are 
fighting for those principles of right and humanity 
which the German Government has outraged and 
which must at all costs be maintained. We do not 
hate the German people. We have no desire to break 
up Germany, nor to inflict a permanent injury upon 
the German people. Our quarrel is with the German 
Government. What we desire is to exorcise that evil, 
spirit which a long regime of Prussianism has been 
implanting in the Germans. We want to discredit 
a military caste and a military system which threatens 
every country in the world, threatens the American 
countries too, Mr. Beck, your own country as well 
as ours. Here, in Europe, Germany has not been 
content since 1871 to be a great and prosperous 
nation living in peace with other nations beside it. 
Under the influence of this militant caste and in 
this military and aggressive spirit there has grown 
up a desire to dominate the world, and now the 
only safety for the world is to discredit that spirit 
and that caste. That spirit has been implanted, 

Appendices 321 

and that caste has obtained control of Gennany 
and imposed its yoke upon the German people, 
owing to a series of successes in three wars, those 
of 1864, 1866, and 1870. It is the prestige of 
those three wars in which Germany was successful 
that has enabled this caste to rivet its dominion 
upon the German people, and has filled the Ger- 
man people with this spirit of aggression, and to- 
day nothing but the destruction of that prestige, 
and nothing but the discrediting of that caste, will 
enable the German people to recover their lib- 
erty. I hope — and I think we can see already some 
signs for our hope — that when that spirit has 
been cast out of Germany and her people have for 
themselves recovered that ' liberty for which they 
were striving before Bismarck's ascendancy began, 
they will be willing again to live at peace with 
their neighbours. Meantime, we must go on. We 
did not enter this war to win anything for ourselves, 
and all that we want now as the result of the war is 
security for ourselves and our great oversea Dominions, 
that Belgium and Northern France should be delivered 
from the invader, that compensation be made to 
Belgium for what she has suffered, and that there 
shall be effected such changes in the East as will 
prevent the Turkish allies of Germany from ever 
again massacring their Christian subjects, and will 
prevent those Turkish allies from being used as the 
vassals and tools of Germany in that Eastward march 
which she has planned. Gentlemen, we must go on 
with the war till Germany has been brought to a 
frame of mind in which she will accept such terms as 
these. This battle which we are waging is a battle 
for those principles of right which were violated when 

322 Appendices 

innocent non-combatants were slaughtered in Belgium, 
and when innocent non-combatants were drowned in 
the Lusitania. The Allies must press on to victory. 
They must press on till victory has been won for those 
principles, and there has been established a perma- 
nent peace resting on the sure foundations of justice 
and freedom. Gentlemen, I ask you to drink the 
health of our friend, Mr. Beck. 

Ji Selection from the 
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Complete Catalo£(ue sent 
on application 

The Evidence in 
the Case 

A Discussion of the Moral Responsibility for the War of 

1914, as Disclosed by the Diplomatic Records 

of England, Germany, Russia, France 

and Belgium 


Late Assistant Attorney-General of the U. S. 
With an Introduction by 


Late U. S. Ambassador to Great Britain 

7th Printing — Revised Edition with much Additional 

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*' Mr. Beck's book is so extremely interesting 
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once begun to lay it down and break off the 
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only that it has had an immense sale in England 
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languages of the other nations of Europe has 
been demanded." — Hon. Joseph H. Choate in 
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